September 17, 2014 |
SHE SPENT THE weekends in her car, driving from one corner of the city to another, looking for something that she couldn't quite put her finger on. On the one hand, Joan Ryan, the director of recovery services for the Philadelphia Department of Veteran Affairs, had an idea of what she was searching for: a building that could house 40 military veterans. But it needed to be more than just walls and a roof. It needed to be a sanctuary for people whose lives had fallen to pieces, a place that could help them learn to stand again - and in a way that few VA facilities had ever tried.
July 7, 2014 |
Tyhira Stovall closed her eyes. Yawned. Swiveled back and forth in her chair. Played with the edges of her jacket. Sighed. "Ok" she said, taking a breath of courage. "Ok. " But no words came. The thoughts, though, did. Poison whispers drifting out of shadows, through the cracks in the closed doors inside her head. She covered her face with her hands. Turned her head to the wall. "Oh God," she said, and began to sob. She was 17. It had been less than a year since her boyfriend had set her up, handing her off to friends who stripped her, forced her to dance and raped her. Tyhira had dropped out of school.
November 20, 2013 |
THE LITTLE GIRL could coax a smile from Tim Gill even when he had none left. She'd seen Gill, a Philadelphia firefighter who served in Iraq with the Pennsylvania National Guard, sprint to the sink, doubled over with nausea. She whispered when Gill's headaches came and tiptoed during his bad dreams, but he remained the man she adored most. A few days before the funeral, she drew a picture of Gill, a stick figure sticking out its tongue, smiling for her one last time. "DADDY," 4-year-old Amanda Gill wrote above the figure's head.
June 23, 2013 |
Henry Costo was only 20 when he was sent to his first fatal fire. He raced up to a third-floor apartment on Girard Avenue, where a teenage girl was reportedly trapped. He grabbed her feet, pulled her dead body closer, and realized something was wrong. There were too many limbs. Costo turned to his partner to share what he had found: two girls, hugging each other, realizing they would die. But driving back home, Costo didn't feel a thing. "I remember thinking, 'There must be something wrong with me. Am I that hardened?
March 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, former Marine Capt. Timothy Kudo thinks of himself as a killer - and he carries the guilt every day. "I can't forgive myself," he says. "And the people who can forgive me are dead. " With American troops at war for more than a decade, there has been an unprecedented number of studies into war-zone psychology and an evolving understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder. Clinicians suspect some troops are suffering from what they call "moral injuries" - wounds from having done something, or failed to stop something, that violates their moral code.
November 29, 2012 |
The unkempt man was wearing fatigues, standing in the street and holding a sign that read, "Vietnam vet. Please help. God bless. " The year was 2005 and Barbara Van Dahlen, a licensed clinical psychologist, was driving with her then-9-year-old daughter, who asked why the man was begging in the world's richest country. It was a moment that helped propel Van Dahlen into her official mission, the founding that year of Give an Hour, a national nonprofit providing free mental health services to military personnel and their families affected by the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other post-9/11 conflicts.
October 26, 2012 |
JERRY GRANTLAND grew up in Lansdowne, enlisted in the Army right out of Cardinal O'Hara High School, deployed to Iraq in 2003 and was on reconnaissance patrol in an armored personnel carrier when a roadside bomb exploded. He wasn't wounded physically. But after eight months of hypervigilance in Iraq, always ready to run for cover from frequent mortar attacks, Grantland came home to a National Guard assignment in Texas, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. "I was driving 75 miles-an-hour on I-10 when I saw a couple of guys at the side of the road who looked like they were duct-taping something to the guardrail," said Grantland, now 28 and living in Roxborough.
May 14, 2012 |
Concerned about "suspicions" of overprescribing antipsychotic drugs, the Pentagon took steps in the last few weeks to limit the use of those powerful medicines to treat the growing legion of war fighters suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. For Stan and Shirley White, the limits can't go into effect soon enough because, in their case, it's already too late. The retired educators' youngest son, Andrew, was an Eagle scout, a baseball player, and an honor student in high school near the family home in Cross Lanes, W.Va.
April 12, 2012 |
America's first and second ladies made a show here Wednesday of enlisting the nation's three million nurses in their Joining Forces program to improve services for soldiers and their families. At the University of Pennsylvania's Irvine Auditorium, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden thanked 150 nursing organizations and 450 nursing schools for pledging to train current and future nurses to treat soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, post-deployment depression, and other visible and invisible wounds of war. "This is truly amazing what you're doing," Obama told the crowd of about 1,100 nurses, nursing students, nursing organization leaders, deans of nursing schools, and a few soldiers.
March 25, 2012 |
Of the 40-student cast and crew, nearly half have a friend or family member in the military. So if ever there was a time and place to reimagine Shakespeare's Macbeth as a tragedy of modern war, it's now, at West Chester University. Macbeth himself (Philadelphia senior Jim Vadala) just spent spring break reconnecting with buddies back with their own war stories to share. Shannon Kearns, a junior Gentlewoman, rushes to the computer to check on a deployed pal from the Poconos whenever she hears of a skirmish in Afghanistan.