Veterans Program To Be Held

For Veterans, For Families And For Those Who Help Them

July 11, 2016

Do you know a veteran? Do you work with veterans regularly? Are you a veteran?

The Fourth Annual Returning Veterans and Their Families: Putting the Pieces Back Together is for you – especially if you are looking to be inspired to do more and learn.

Held from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Friday, July 29, in the Central Resource Center at Penn Highlands DuBois, this program is hosted by Penn Highlands Healthcare and the Service Access & Management Inc., Community Connections of Clearfield/Jefferson Counties. Three guest speakers will present.

The first is Sergeant Major (Retired) Todd M. Parisi from Kersey. Parisi served 28 years in the Marines, then followed on as a freshman high school teacher. He has served multiple combat tours in multiple wars. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and is the Author of the book, “From Where I Stand.”

He is currently active in the community fundraising and conducting Leadership based/Motivational Speaking for various organizations and deeply seeded into the school systems.

His presentation is "Empowering Tomorrow - The Key to Resiliency for all."

“This presentation will focus on the core of who you are in order to be more and be more effective for yourself, your family and your patients/clients,” he said “It will prove exhilarating, refreshing and thunderous. Not only will this presentation light your fire, but it will give you added resolve, enthusiasm and ideas on how you can be your best you. It will also give the added momentum in your lives to not only better understand your patients, but to be more able to relate and support them and their families.”

Those who attend will take away and understand, according to Parisi:
• The POWER within when inspired;
• Being your best you as an individual;
• How can I better serve those who served us;
• Inspiring resiliency in the force;
• “I can, I will, I must” mentality in all things.

“I will bring the BOOM!” he said. “Any human will benefit from being present, I guarantee it.”

Parisi feels that he can relate to the audience “because they care about those who have served...I served 28 years, and that makes me care about them - it's that simple. Together, we are going to continue doing whatever we can to best help, mentor and inspire both our veterans and those tremendous souls who are looking out for them.”

Returning again this year is Colonel Thomas J. Stokes, U.S. Army Reserves Social Worker Commander 328th Medical Detachment Combat and Operational Stress Control Unit of Coraopolis who will talk about “We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know: the Experience of Members of Today’s Military.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder has not gone away for veterans. The experience of the military is unknown to many friends, family members and providers for veterans, and being on the same page is sometimes difficult.

According to the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs, about 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans, or between 11-20 percent, who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year. About 12 percent of Gulf War veterans have had it, and 30 percent of Vietnam veterans have had it in their lifetimes.

Though PTSD is a non-military problem, too, other factors in a combat situation can add more stress to an already stressful situation. This may contribute to PTSD and other mental health problems. These factors include what you do in the war, the politics around the war, where the war is fought and the type of enemy you face.

Another cause of PTSD in the military can be military sexual trauma, or MST. This is any sexual harassment or sexual assault that occurs while you are in the military. MST can happen to both men and women and can occur during peacetime, training or war.

Among Veterans who use VA health care, about 23 of women reported sexual assault when in the military and 55 percent of women and 38 percent of men have experienced sexual harassment when in the military.

There are many more male Veterans than there are female Veterans. So, even though military sexual trauma is more common in women Veterans, over half of all Veterans with military sexual trauma are men.

Katie Chapman, PhD, psychologist of the DuBois community-based Outpatient Clinic associated with the James E. Van Zandt Veterans Medical Center, Altoona, will talk about “Military Sexual Trauma: A focus on Effective Assessment and Recovery.”

According to a report in the American Journal of Public Health, survivors of sexual trauma often delay disclosure and treatment of their experiences. In Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, veterans report stigma associated with seeking help, and the population of veterans seeking care for military sexual trauma may increase with time.

“We hope that people come out to join us for this great program,” Ron Hannah, MS, RN, of Penn Highlands, said. “Our veterans have given so much for our country. This is the least that we can do to show our appreciation.”

Anyone interested in attending this free event can contact Hannah by July 22 with their name, address and phone number at 375-3089. A pizza lunch will be provided to those who attend.