Student veterans of Eastern Michigan University are invited to help each other find balance among school, life and work during weekly group meetings. The Department of Veterans Affairs is hosting the open discussions at 3 p.m. every Wednesday in the Military and Veterans Resource Center at 401 Pierce Hall.
John Frye is the Student Veterans of America president for EMU’S chapter and wants the meetings to help instill a sense of unity for prior service members. He served in the Marines as a crewmember on an amphibious assault vehicle and is studying to become a high school history teacher.
“We hope to connect new and former EMU veterans on campus and to provide camaraderie and an easier transition to college life,” he said.
SVA wants to use these meetings as a foundation for more veteran involvement and future activities, Frye said.
“We hope to plan more events and to expand the group as well as become a more well-known organization on campus,” he said.
PTSD has become prevalent among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with the numbers of those afflicted steadily rising over America’s years of war. The Department of Veterans Affairs hired more than 1,600 mental health specialists over the summer as part of an executive order from President Obama in an attempt to quell the disorder’s grip on returning troops. The Ann Arbor VA Hospital received nine of those specialists.
“With this hiring initiative, we were able to increase access to mental health care, and we can now schedule more mental health compensation and pension exams both in Ann Arbor and at our Toledo Community Based Outpatient Clinic,” Randall Ritter, the Ann Arbor VA hospital’s acting director, said.
PTSD has always been an undertone of war, although it was commonly referred to as “shellshock.”
Audie Murphy was America’s most decorated soldier of World War II and also received of the Medal of Honor. In his autobiography “To Hell and Back” he describes the daunting task of readjusting to normalcy and the home front.
Murphy wrote, “I will learn to look at life through uncynical eyes, to have faith, to know love. I will learn to work in peace as in war. And finally-finally, like countless others, I will learn to live again.”
EMU student Ralph Capistrano served in Iraq from 2010-2011 as an infantryman in the Army. He is now studying communications and works at the veterans center on campus.
Capistrano said the meetings could be beneficial to those struggling with the transition from warrior to scholar.
“Personally, I don’t have PTSD,” he said, “But, I’m sure there are veterans at this very school that have it and they could use the help of other veterans.”
Capistrano said a successful soldier doesn’t always equate into a good grade point average.
“Veterans may have done a very good job on active duty, but still have problems with classes. I think these meetings could help them sort that stuff out too,” he said.
EMU student Jeremiah Yourchock has been in the Michigan National Guard Reserves as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist since 2010 and is studying to become a paralegal/legal assistant. He has never seen combat and won’t deploy for the next two years, but said the meetings could still be helpful.
“When I came back from boot camp and even some weekends I have to slowly work my way back into civilian mentality,” he said.
Yourchock said going to college and being in the military can be difficult at times.
“It’s like you’re living in two separate worlds, and sometimes it can be a bit much.”
The local SVA chapter also meets at 9 p.m. every Thursday at The Wurst Bar, at 705 W. Cross St., for food, drinks and discussion and invites all Eagle veterans to attend.
It's an opinion piece, you idiot.
Another interesting read from the best writer The ...
Wow, Eastern. Personally, I normally applaud the Echo ...
Your takiya fools no one, budallah.
How patronising, to say that it was the Virgin Mary's ...