Often the hardest times for an ex-Serviceman are
when he has to step outside the Forces and face a life on Civvy
Street for which he may be completely unprepared. That was
certainly the case for Yanto Evans, who served with the Paras for
13 years with postings including Northern Ireland, Belize and the
Falklands - where he was blown up on the Sir Galahad and watched
many comrades die.
For family reasons Yanto eventually decided to leave the
Services. When he first left he had a series of jobs in security
and surveillance, then he joined the Police Force but found it too
different to what he was used to in the Army. He kept putting
himself in dangerous situations - on one occasion he intervened to
stop an armed robbery. It was almost as though he didn't want to
live, later diagnosed as a classic sign of 'survivor's guilt' and
part of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which he carried
as a result of his time in the forces. After a year off sick, he
left the police service and fell into a downward spiral of failed
relationships, alcohol and drugs.
It took him five years to realise that he needed help to control
the aggression and frustration which had become a standard part of
his life. He also needed help with his financial situation.
Fortunately he came into contact with the Legion's County Field
Officer Craig Treeby who was able to help him with an application
to increase his War Pension allowance. Craig arranged treatment for
his combat stress, raised the funds to buy him a new cooker and to
pay for three months of Council Tax arrears. He also arranged for
Yanto to be given vocational assessment to help him back into
employment where he unexpectedly found that he had an aptitude for
sales. As a result of the course, he was able to find himself
employment at a local estate agents.
"When I left the Army I was completely unprepared for life
out of uniform," he says. "I was completely
disoriented and confused. The Legion helped me to get back on my
feet and thanks to them I have been able to start afresh and make a
life for myself on Civvy Street."