Saturday, August 31, 2013

CIA Agent Tony Mendez and Recording Artist Ronnie McDowell on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

Join Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes as we profile organizations and leaders who lead by example. With extraordinary acts of kindness and charitable giving that help countless lives daily, these organizations and leaders embody "Be the change you want to see in the world".


On Saturday, August 31, 2013, tune in to hear former CIA Agent, author, and artist, Tony Mendez. His real life story inspired the movie Argo which was Best Picture at the 2013 Oscars. Ben Affleck played Tony in the movie. We will also hear from recording legend Ronnie McDowell who is best known for his hit The King is Gone. Ronnie will talk about the number of artist he has worked with but he will also discuss a few artists he admires greatly that just might surprise you. Ronnie will also share about his service to our country.

Tony Mendez is the keynote speaker at Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc.'s Third Annual Heroes Breakfast and Ronnie McDowell is the Honorary Chair. This fundraiser supports the programs of Operation Stand Down Nashville. The Heroes Breakfast will be on Friday, September 6, 2013 at Lowes Vanderbilt. Networking starts at 8:00am and Tony Mendez will speak at 9:00am. A book signing with follow. (For more information or to purchase a ticket, tables, or sponsorship contact 615-248-1981.)

Tune into 760AM in the Middle Tennessee Region, on Tune In, on streaming live online at UStream.TV, and on military bases on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am CST.


Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc (OSDN) is the primary nonprofit resource for veterans in Middle Tennessee providing life changing social services including transitional housing, or referrals, employment readiness training and placement assistance, and coordination of the activities of other agencies in the delivery of such services. They are the only VA approved and supported Veteran Service Center in Tennessee. Their clients are honorably discharged veterans with an emphasis on veterans who are homeless. OSDN's ultimate goal is to give veterans in need the tools to rejoin their community as productive, responsible citizens.

The homeless count, conducted by the city of Nashville in January 2009, found 2,157 homeless people in Davidson County. The count did not include homeless in the surrounding counties who also come to OSDN for services. With approximately 30% of the homeless being veterans, at least 647 veterans are homeless in Nashville/Davidson County, with more in the surrounding counties, on any particular night. Our unique partnership with the VA Medical Center and the VA Regional Office allows us to provide more direct, personal social services than any other agency in this area.

No veteran should be homeless. No veteran who wants to work should be jobless. No veteran should feel hopeless. Thanks to the caring support of our many government and community partners, OSDN has and will continue to successfully aid veterans in restoring their lives. While it is a source of pride that OSDN programs meet and exceed all the funding standards, true success comes when a veteran in need moves on to a renewed life within the community. That is why OSDN exists. You can help them with their efforts by donating here.


Doing Good Celebrates Volunteers Doing Good in the Community

Doing Good™ is dedicated to promoting volunteerism – for all non-profits and areas of service. Its flagship project is Doing Good, a television show which features volunteers already making a difference in the community.



Doing Good was started by Megan McInnis with a mission to help improve the community of Nashville one volunteer at a time. “I believe in the impact one person can have on any community. I want Doing Good to celebrate the individuals who already volunteer, and I believe they can inspire and empower our neighbors to further impact our community.”

From The Nashville Ledger:

Megan McInnis launched her local nonprofit, Doing Good, in April 2011, and it quickly gained national attention. Its website, designed to promote volunteerism and connect people with nonprofits, won four national 2012 MarCom awards, the equivalent of winning an Oscar for the marketing and communication field. McInnis is a devoted matchmaker connecting volunteers and nonprofits, which is the reason she founded Doing Good.

“We needed something positive,” says McInnis, who plans to spotlight volunteers by promoting a Volunteer of the Month on the website. “When people volunteer, it needs to work for them,” she says. “It needs to fit their schedule and interests if there is something they want to get out of it. It is so important to find the right fit for the volunteers, because that is when they just blossom. “Each volunteer brings a unique set of skills and resources to that organization. They provide services and help stretch their budgets so it really becomes a win-win for the community.”

While in career transition and looking for a new challenge in corporate marketing, McInnis is focusing her efforts on Doing Good. She envisions a multi-platform program under the Doing Good umbrella, including Doing Good, a one-hour, weekly TV show featuring volunteers making a difference in the community. A six-minute demo of the show is on the website as she moves forward on funding.

While executive director for U.S. Green Building Council Middle Tennessee, she increased its volunteers 712 percent, membership by 25 percent and added to its numbers of partners, sponsorships and funded grants, all in her first year on the job.


Living Your Best Life is ecstatic to partner with Doing Good each month along with Mocha Market Magazine


Zetas Doing Good In the Community
Photo credit: Nashville Ledger



Friday, August 30, 2013

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month...One Woman's Journey


Often, through my social media channels, my column, and Living Your Best Life Radio, many connect with me to share stories that impact others in inspiring life changing ways. Most of the stories I hear are positive and uplifting. And then, there are some that break my heart.

In a series on domestic violence scheduled to run in October in several publications, I felt the power and strength of several women, their families, supporters, and advocates who will show us the frailty of the human condition and how we are innately equipped to be triumphant over evil with their stories. I also believe in learning through sharing. Many lessons can be learned through the wisdom of others telling their painful trials. Hopefully, many will connect with others who may be going through something similar.  Domestic violence can affect anyone, it does not discriminate. Domestic violence does not care about class, race, age, or gender.

The story of MBJ* was one that was extremely violent and affected me personally. She lives near me and is close to a family friend. MJB was kidnapped in 2011 and nearly killed by her then husband in front of her two small children. Shocked at the violence of her story that made national headlines, I asked her to share her story on Living Your Best Life and in print. She agreed. Here is an excerpt of an in dept story that shows the impact of domestic violence on the victim, the devastating aftermath on family members, and the domestic violence history behind the story.


GSH: What happened to you physically?

MBJ: I was stabbed in my thigh area slicing a nerve and muscle. I have permanent nerve damage and loss of muscle. I still suffer a lot of leg and muscle pain. I’m unable to stand for any length of time. I have problems walking any distance. I can not walk uphill at all. 

GSH: What was the emotional impact this attack has had on  you and your family? 

MBJ: I have many nightmares and flash backs of the event to the point of being put on medication. After two years, my 4 year old son still talks about the incident that happened. He tells everyone at day care what happened to his mom or whoever else will listen. My son has also asked me, if the knife was sharp, dull, and did it hurt me? My six year old daughter still talks about the day of the attack, and repeats the story to her teachers at school. Often, other children will tease her about her father being in prison. My 15 year old niece who was at home at the time, witnessed the incident has nightmares about the day of the attack. If she had not been there at the time, I would have been killed. My niece is the one who called 911! My ex-husband's sister and brother-in-law walked passed us and ignored my pleas for help.

GSH: Have your injuries prevented you from working?

MBJ: I have been in the customer service industry most of my life. Since the 2011, I have not been able to do a lot of standing or excess amount of walking in order to take care of customers. I have also worked in the telecommunication field. I have not been unable to climb ladders to perform my job duties in the career I chose. I decided to go back to school to be able to have more options since I was limited after the attack.

GSH: How else has this effected your lifestyle and socialization with your children?

MBJ: I have been limited to the amount of extra activities I can participate in with my children that are 4 and 6. For example, this summer, I bought a water park season pass but even that causes too much pain for my limited abilities to take my children swimming. I did not realize I needed to climb the stairs for the slides.  

 GSH: What are some other situations you have encountered since your attack? 


MBJ: I have been told by his step brother that he wanted to kill me when he get out and would beat me until my eyes popped out of my head. He is up for parole because he only had to serve thirty percent of his twelve years. He also told his brother that he would finish me off and spend the rest of his life in prison. He also told me that his cell mate was a murder and he liked it. I took it to mean he was learning from him. I am in fear for my life when he is returned to society as well as in fear of him kidnapping my children. He also told me about a year ago that he would commit suicide at some point so that he wouldn’t have to do all this time. The way he said he would commit suicide was try running and let the guards kill him.

The abuser in this story has served time before for the exact crime against another woman. He served six years for the previous attack. 
  
(I was overwhelmed by the helplessness of victims, their families, and friends that I have interviewed and extremely grateful for their openness. Look for partnerships announcements soon for October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)


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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Veteran turned MTSU Raider Steven Rhodes: Husband and Full-time Dad before the Spotlight

After the world was introduced to Steven Rhodes by Adam Sparks of The Daily News Journal on Sunday, August 18, 2013, he became a media star within hours. Steven Rhodes went from a being a local story about a Marine hoping to play football at Middle Tennessee State University to THE news story on social media. Millions of tweets and Facebook comments were being posted by the hour it seemed. Social media went into overdrive and then every sports journalist, talk show host, and blogger stood in line ready to interview him. Within 24 hours, Steven Rhodes was no longer a college football player story that took over social media but an internationally Marine who everyone was cheering for around the world.

I was one of the those social media enthusiasts who retweeted and posted his story. Of course, Steven Rhodes being a Marine caught my attention first, but the more I read, the more intrigued I became about Steven Rhodes. Being in the company of Marines often, I know firsthand that most Marines have families with young children. (Just look at the Marines of KILO Company). I wanted to go behind the scenes to find out more.

After reading he had a wife who was still active duty, I called MTSU's media director, Jimmy Hart,  for an interview. The line was long and my number was 777. But I kept calling and Jimmy kept trying. With perseverance and an angel disguised as Aunt Angela, I move ahead of the pack and got an interview booked on for my radio show, Living Your Best Life Radio, that has a large military following. With many of members of our military in transition, I believed his story would encourage them in a variety of ways. Football seemed to be only part of the story.

Across multiple networks on Saturday, August 24, 2013, I was honored to interview not just Steven but his wife, Adrienne, and his mother, Narkita. The audience heard a soft spoken Steven share how he and his wife worked out a plan long from the spotlight about their post military careers for their family. Playing football was part of the goal but not THE goal. Enrolling in college with hopes of trying out for football were discussed with his wife over a year ago. After fire years in the military each and two sons ages, one and three, the young couple were looking forward to their future with solid plans.

Steven and Adrienne went deeper into their story by sharing their family's move to Tennessee was actually over a year in the making. If Steven desired to at least try out for a college team, he knew he had to be in physical shape to be considered. Joining an intramural team was for fun but also for filming footage for perspective coaches to view. He understood he needed to market himself and felt strongly he get could an opportunity to be a walk on. He knew he needed months to train, not a few weeks before football camp. Several colleges across the country were on his list. In the Middle Tennessee area, Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee were on the short list.

Adrienne shared it was a big decision for their family. But she believed in her husband and supported her husband's decision try out for football. The issues surrounding his ability to play were big but so were childcare, finding a home close to campus, and a job for her. Steven Rhodes was a husband and father first.

You could hear Adrienne's excitement and determination about the next chapter in her life as woman, wife, and mother. She will be leaving the Navy in September and finishing her degree this fall. The couple voiced how they made sacrifices to find the best fit for their family and MTSU was that best fit. MTSU supports veterans and everyone worked as a team to help Steven. Team work..



Like good team players, Steven and Adrienne relied on each other but were not shy about asking for help. Enter the grandparents. While Steven was transplanting his family to Tennessee in May, the grandparents on both sides stepped up to helped with the children. For two months this summer, Steven practiced during the day while being Mr. Mom with the boys. Is there a medal for that?

His mom, Narkita, joined our on air discussion and shared how she and her husband, Reginald, raised her sons in the church and she was not shy about being a disciplinarian. Steven laughed out loud as his mother shared his childhood antics that tested the family often. She told me later, she too, was not shy about asking family members to help with her sons. Both grandmothers have been rock solid throughout the transition and both knew that no matter what the outcome with football, their children were following their destiny in life.


The audience heard from Steven how a strong faith in God and loving supportive family kept him grounded before becoming a Marine. As a Marine, he is one of the few, the proud, the brave. His light was shining brightly before being dubbed a media darling. His humility was obvious on the air and when I met him in person. His wife understands his desire to excel in life because she believes in "Honor, Courage, Commitment.” Their family's story encouraged thousands who are in career transition throughout the military but also throughout communities around the country. They heard nothing happens over night. Nothing. And going after your dreams and desires in life truly takes planning. And sacrifice.





(I believe firmly that preparation for an opportunity sets you on the path for that opportunity to happen. Many may not see one prepping for it but when it happens you they are prepared. I thank everyone for helping make my interview with The Rhodes Family possible. I especially thank Adam Spark for tipping the world off to Steven Rhodes, Jimmy Hart, and Russell Luna. lastly, a big art lover thank you to the Aunt Angela!





Friday, August 23, 2013

Marine turned MTSU Raider Steven Rhodes and His Family on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

Join Living Your Best Life as we celebrate our military heroes' journeys before and after their service to our country. Hear from men and women who are sons and daughters; husbands and wives; fathers and mothers; grandparents; siblings; and loyal friends. Hear members of the Marines, Army, Air Force, and Navy share personal stories and highlights from their military careers. All have roles that made them the "first" in many endeavors throughout their lives and in the military. We will hear about their rarely discussed acts of courage and sacrifice that embody servant leadership that will empower, inspire, and motivate listeners.




On Saturday, August 24, 2013, join me to hear the inspiring story of Marine Veteran, Steven Rhodes, who became a football player at Middle Tennessee State University after initially being ruled ineligible to play because of NCAA rules. Hear Rhodes' share how his faith and his family helped shaped him long before he began wearing the Raiders' jersey. The Rhodes Family will share about their life before the spotlight and their thoughts on the last week. 
Wife Adrienne Rhodes, AO3 Rhodes E-4. Stationed in San Diego.



Rhodes will also discuss his service in the Marines Corps and the challenges of balancing family, college, and football. We will also share how veterans around the country are taking a second look at attending college since the story broke on Sunday in the Daily News Journal and was picked up national media outlets around the country.


This show is guaranteed to empower, inspire, and motivate you to live your BEST life and not let others "no" determine your destiny in life!

Tune into 760AM in the Middle Tennessee Region, on Tune In, on streaming live online at UStream.TV, and on military bases on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am CST.

MTSU Named Military Friendly School!



MTSU was recently named a 'Military Friendly School' for the third year by G.I. Jobs. This honor is given to only the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools who actively promote resources and services to veterans looking to return to school. MTSU has been working with many campus partners to ensure that our veterans' transition to MTSU is successful by providing veteran focused programs, support and guidance.




VetSuccess On Campus Information 



Photo Credits: MTSU and Steven Rhodes 
Behind the scenes of story breaking by Subtle Sparky Blog post can be found here.
Special Thanks: Jimmy Hart, Russell Luna, USMC, and The Rhodes Family 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

CIA Operative Tony Mendez Keynote for Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc. Heroes Breakfast


$50.00 individual tickets can be purchased here. For sponsorships opportunities contact Lynda Evjen  levjen@gmail.com.

SAFE's Don McCasland Addresses PTSD on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

Join Living Your Best Life as we celebrate our military heroes' journeys before and after their service to our country. Hear from men and women who are sons and daughters; husbands and wives; fathers and mothers; grandparents; siblings; and loyal friends. Hear members of the Marines, Army, Air Force, and Navy share personal stories and highlights from their military careers. All have roles that made them the "first" in many endeavors throughout their lives and in the military. We will hear about their rarely discussed acts of courage and sacrifice that embody servant leadership that will empower, inspire, and motivate listeners.


On Saturday, August 17, 2013, tune in hear from Iraqi Freedom Veteran turned Social Worker Don McCasland. Listen as Don share about his experience as a soldier who was deployed multiple times prior to his retirement. Hear him discuss the mental health issues they can plague active duty and the veteran community.

Don will also debunk the controversial article that appeared in the Leaf Chronicle on August 11 and discuss the message the article sent to the men and women at 101st Airborne. Don will share the focus of SAFE and how the Clarksville, TN based non-profit works with members of the military and their families who are fighting "for inner peace, their souls, and the desperate need to feel whole again." 

Tune into 760AM in the Middle Tennessee Region, on Tune In, streaming live online at UStream.TV, and on military bases on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am CST. 

More About Don McCasland


Don McCasland retired from the US Army after 21+ years of service in August 2009 as a Sergeant First Class. He served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm as well as 3 Tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, twice with a Field Artillery unit, and once with an Infantry unit. During his deployments to Iraq, he lost over 20 friends, and during his final tour, following years of combat trauma it was his experiences as the NCO in Charge of his units' Remains Recovery Team that were the breaking point for him. 

Following six years of unresolved mental and emotional trauma, he began to lose control of his life. On the verge of losing his family and everything important to him, he finally sought out counseling. With hard work and the support of a loving family, he came to grips with his PTSD. Though he still suffers from PTSD, he has the tools and skills to manage it so it no longer interferes with his life. In June of 2010, Don helped found The Lazarus Project, a non-profit that provides free counseling services to active duty, veterans and their families.

In January 2012, The Lazarus Project merged with SAFE (Soldiers and Families Embraced). SAFE offers professional mental health training specific to military psychology, workshops for family members, as well as free counseling, client advocacy, and education regarding veterans issues to the community at large. 

Don has earned his Bachelors and Masters in Social Work at Austin Peay State University. He is the Program Director at SAFE, and also offers counseling to at-risk military children at a Clarksville Middle School. In addition, he started SAFE's justice system outreach program, which offers support and advocacy for clients who are navigating the court system or are incarcerated. He has been married for 17 years to Joanne, who is also a Social Worker and they have a daughter and a son. 

More About SAFE (Soldiers and Families Embrace)


Soldiers And Families Embraced (SAFE) offers individual and group counseling services, as well as peer support groups for active duty, veterans and their families. These services are provided at no cost, and no insurance is required. We are a non-profit organization funded through grants and private donations. We will not deny services to any person on the basis of age, sex, religion, disability, national origin, or sexual orientation.

SAFE’s mission is to serve as a resource for the community to ease the readjustment and reintegration of military members returning from our current wars and their families, as well as veterans from previous eras. We work towards peace and healing by providing the services required, advocating for clients, assisting the community at large in finding these services through other agencies, or facilitating the creation of programs by individual organizations. In addition, we strive to help develop future mental healthcare professionals who work with our demographic by offering internships and other professional development opportunities. In this way we are able to directly address the constantly growing need for well-trained providers to our community.

We offer individual and group counseling services, as well as peer support groups for veterans. All are conducted in a “safe place” where veterans can feel free to discuss any issues or problems without fear of judgment. Our peer support groups will allow veterans to speak with others who have “been there, done that” and understand what it’s like to have the same feelings and challenges. In addition, we offer individual counseling and support groups to the families and friends of veterans.  Our belief is that by strengthening and supporting those who struggle to live with and love those veterans, we can begin the healing and strengthen the community that will need to be able to unbind these veterans and let them live again. These services are provided at no cost, and no insurance is required.

SAFE will always respect the integrity and welfare of our clients. Each client is treated with respect, acceptance and dignity. The client’s right to self-determination is protected by SAFE. We recognize the client’s right to receive or refuse services. We also recognize and build on client strengths.

Client confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us at SAFE. Many, if not all of our clients are motivated to seek our services because they want privacy from University Staff and Faculty or unit Chain of Commands, Department of the Army, and Fort Campbell for fear of adverse actions, effects on Security Clearance status and/or promotions. Our staff will protect the client’s right to privacy and confidentiality except when such confidentiality would cause harm to the client or others, when agency guidelines state otherwise, or under other stated conditions (e.g., local, state, or federal laws). SAFE will inform clients of the limits of confidentiality prior to the onset of the helping relationship. If it is suspected that danger or harm may occur to the client or to others as a result of a client’s behavior, we will act in an appropriate and professional manner to protect the safety of those individuals.

We are exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information about our nonprofit status, please visit our givingmatters.com profile here or our guidestar.org profile here.


Photo credits: SAFE and Don McCasland (used with permission) 


 

Iraqi Freedom Veteran turned Social Worker Debunks Study that Debunked Combat-Suicide Link


Guest Post By Don McCasland



As a 3-Tour 101st Airborne Division Iraqi Freedom Veteran and current Director of Programs at Soldiers And Families Embraced (SAFE) in Clarksville,Tennessee. I read the article titled “Combat-Suicide Link Debunked” (August 11, 2013) with a mixture of shock, horror, frustration, and anger. This article, as well as the military PTSD study published in the JAMA cited failed to address PTSD in a meaningful way.

We should take note that the study was commissioned and financed by the Department of Defense, and conducted by active duty and civilian researchers and psychiatrists. Not exactly an impartial, third-party group. The DOD researchers have a vested interest in disputing PTSD claims. What did the study indicate? In summation, it states that the multiple deployments, the military’s handling of the aftermath of year after year of deployments as well as related stressors, and a lack of proper mental healthcare do not contribute to increased suicide rates. 

Another issue with this flawed “comprehensive study” is the data referenced is now outdated. According to the article, “…people from all branches took part, including active-duty service members, reservists and retirees, and they were followed from 2001 to 2008…”. Researchers used data from 2001-2008 to address military suicide rates in 2013. The Department of Defense is touting this study as definitive proof that they have been right about the issues of suicide all along by using a study that draws from surveys and numbers that are five to six years old? I can assure you, even an new undergraduate student at APSU writing a research paper knows better than to use data over five years old when there is more recent information available.

As I continued to read in dismay at the study's findings, the author stated, “At the same time, there was an increase in the number of people with mental illness in the military. The reason for that is unclear." The lack of clarity is not a mystery to any who have served in combat. There is a direct link to life stressors and mental health. Being in the military in a war zone is a major life stressor that will affect your mental health. 
In a study published by the US Army in 2010 called “Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, Suicide Prevention Report 2010” GEN Peter Chiarelli, the Army Vice Chief of Staff from 2008-2012, stated in the introduction that in 2009 “…we had 160 active duty suicide deaths, with 239 across the total Army (including Reserve Component). Additionally, there were 146 active duty deaths related to high risk behavior including 74 drug overdoses. This is tragic!”
 He goes on to say “…Some form of high risk behavior (self-harm, illicit drug use, binge drinking, criminal activity, etc.) was a factor in most of these deaths. When we examined the circumstances behind these deaths, we discovered a direct link to increased life stressors and increased risk behavior. For some, the rigors of service, repeated deployments, injuries, and separations from Family resulted in a sense of isolation, hopelessness and life fatigue.”
This same 2010 report clearly states- “…While 80,403 entry-level waivers occurred from FY 2004 – FY 2009, the number of entry-level separations decreased dramatically. This, in essence, created a net gain of approximately 10,000 Soldiers who might not have been eligible for entry into the Army before 2004. Of the 80,403 waivers granted, 47,478 were granted to individuals with a history of drug, alcohol, misdemeanor crimes, or serious criminal misconduct”
Interesting to note, these are figures are from the same time period that the “new comprehensive study” was conducted. And yet the authors of the study claim they were "unclear" as to the increase in mental health issues in the military.
  
In 2008, a RAND study stated that “…Of those who have a mental disorder and also sought medical care for that problem, just over half received minimally adequate treatment.”  Currently, there is an abundance of evidence that shows us that when people can not seek treatment for whatever reason, the first reaction from many is to “self medicate” by using drugs or alcohol to lessen the pain or to help them forget in a desperate attempt to cope with traumatic life events and stressors. Many active duty and veterans struggle with this constantly.

Members of our military are lost everyday to bombs and bullets in war zones. Those who survived the war come back to the "safety" of home but continue to fight internal life and death battles every day. In 2013, we have lost almost one veteran every hour to those battles...23 per day. Verterans who survived war are being lost to mental and psychological battles. They are seeking (and not finding) inner-peace, their souls, and the desperate need to feel whole again. These mental battles are the results of combat trauma and experiences that are the related to serving our country. Even after returning home, they have not "come home". Many who have served are admitting after returning home, their communities can seem like war zones and with "combatants" everywhere.

This study is presented as the “end all, be all” with no regards to the reasons for the ever increasing military-wide suicide rates. I am taken aback at the irresponsibility and insensitivity of the headline stating that the combat-suicide rate connection has been once and for all debunked

I served with the 101st for 7 years before my retirement after multiple deployments. I personally know three individuals I served with who committed suicide. Now, in my role as a Social Worker, I see many clients and their family members who are on the brink of committing suicide or have actually done so. 

At a time when suicides are taking a toll on the 101st Airborne, what glaring headlines do we read from the Leaf Chronicle? "Combat -Suicide Link Debunked". Yes, a base that is struggling with the aftermath of being at war for two decades is told that combat trauma is not the cause of the suicides.The Leaf-Chronicle's article told those of us that have served our country that we are dealing with personality failings, addictions, and the inability to maintain a healthy relationships.

Shame. Shame on the military for attempting to shift the blame to people who served honorably and bravely. Shame on the Leaf-Chronicle for failing to dig deeper and ask the most basic of questions prior to publishing this article. Shame.



Photos: Don McCasland (used with permission)
Sources sited for this article: Army Research Laboratories (ARL), the Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (CHPPM), National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), the RAND Corporation and the Veterans Administration.