Powerful veteran stories reveal post-war mental and physical afflictions

June 3, 2015

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Thorner: Powerful veteran stories reveal post-war mental and physical afflictions

Vetsgroup

By Nancy Thorner – 

Yesterday’s Part 1 set the stage for sharing in today’s Part 2 veteran stories collected from real veterans through audio-recorded interviews, as presented at an event sponsored by Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation on May 29th at Gorton Center in Lake Forest. “Veterans Voices” had its world premiere at the Filament Theatre in November of 2013.

In each of the five stories as presented by actors at “Erasing The Distance,” war experiences created mental and physical anguish which resulted in Post-Traumatic Stress.  The stories however do not in any way represent isolated experiences but are indicative of what thousands of veterans are experiencing post service in the military.

  • Ashley (played by Jaclyn Hennell) loses 26 men in her unit during service in Iraq. She comes back punching holes in walls and recklessly driving her motorcycle before realizing that something is terribly wrong.
  • Thomas (played by Tom McElroy) comes home from the Vietnam War and builds a fruitful corporate career. 30 years later as he retires, his PTSD finally gets the better of him.
  • David (played by Charles Stransky) sees tremendous loss of those close to him during his time in Vietnam. He struggles to make sense of it all for almost 40 years, until the right therapist opens the door and David finally begins to get help.
  • Vanessa (played by Alice da Cunha) deals with her brother when he comes home with PTSD after his third tour in Afghanistan, and his struggle for support is blocked by bureaucratic red tape.
  • Emily (played by Amy J. Carle) travels the world with the Navy and finds professional success over a decade of service, but is disturbed to witness abuses of power within the ranks. Personally devastated by the effects of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, she ultimately leaves the military and uses art to ignite dialogue around her experiences.

Before viewing “Veterans Voices”, hearing much talk about PTS, I had never given it much thought.  I must even confess that the condition sounded a bit phony, never having personally known a veteran suffering from PTS.  How wrong I was!  It is real and debilitating for those who are coping with it.

Kudos to Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation for offering a community of support and help, not bound by legal or traditional military restrictions, to veterans, military personnel and their families suffering from the effects of war or deployment.

Erasing the Distance productions are available for engagement at your organization.  Call Artistic Director, Brighid O’Shaughnessy at 872-529-1383 to see how your group might arrange for a performance.
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