Lloyd Deans, deployed to Iraq as part of the U. S. Army from 2008 to 2009, is doing what he can to help veterans through the use of their digital devices.
Deans is the creator of “The Deans List,” an app for both Apple and Android smartphones and tablet devices to provide relevant sources and materials for veterans.
“It compiles the most current and relevant resources for veterans and their families, such as where to find military discounts, employment opportunities, mental health support, peer support, legal services, health and wellness resources, veteran services, education, family resources and much more,” said Deans, a resident of Bridgewater, NJ.
In addition, Deans said, the app provides news feeds on veteran issues that range from medical employments to family issues and breaking news. And it provides video feeds on relevant topics like testimonials from veterans, user-generated content, military life and more.
“The Deans List app allows instant chat with other military personnel in The Deans List community,” he said. “Users can ask questions, make statements, post pictures, engage on current topics [and more].”
Basically, Deans said, the app is designed to connect veterans and their families to any resources they might need.
The app which was released in August, Deans said, was actually his second attempt at making such a program. The first, he said, didn’t do well, so he spoke with a friend who asked him what he is passionate about and how he wants to make a difference.
“I stated, ‘I wanted to be a veteran advocate,’ because of the high suicide rates, because of the need for alternative programs to help veterans waiting on the VA to fill their claims, because unfortunately, the hard truth is that nobody cares about veterans,” he said.
“The veterans’ plight is a 60-year-old problem that stems from the Vietnam era, and not until after 9/11 was it acceptable again to be a soldier, to be in uniform and not be looked at differently.”
Deans said it is because of the advocacy of Vietnam veterans for change in legislation and health care that they are getting the help they need.
“But we need more action to address the issues and less talking about why,” he said. “I decided that creating an app that would address issues veterans face daily that can be easily accessible on their phones would be a start in the right direction.”
And within two months, Deans said, he had created the app from research and surveys.
Deans said that, through word of mouth and social media, they have 600 downloads of the app already.
“The Deans List app has received great reviews in both the Apple Store and Google Play Store,” he said.
While in Iraq, Deans served as a team leader in the Escort Platoon in the High Value Detainees Internment Facility, and was chosen over 120 peers to be part of an elite guard force for a special multi-national program.
In January 2009, Deans was named Soldier of the Month as part of a special program block in Task Force MP North, and he returned home that year.
Deans said he hopes veterans from all over download the free app to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.
“The main problem for veterans is that there are so many programs and resources for veterans that it becomes overwhelming to figure out where to start to find your specific needs,” he said. “So veterans get trapped in the never-ending loop of calling multiple places before getting an answer to their question, and in some cases they give up because of the lack of follow-ups by programs that they leave messages for.”
The app, Deans said, aggregates all that information needed, including news, resources, employment and more.
“The Deans List app connects its users together through a chat function that allows users to share best practices, shared experiences and information for what works for them,” he said. “If you have any questions or needs, the Deans List app will have the answer or solution.”
To download the app, click here.
For more information or to suggest a specific reference for the app, email DeanslistVR@gmail.com.
Editor's note: This article originally was pubished by Bridgewater Patch in New Jersey.