January 21, 2016 |
A nine-year Army veteran who said he suffers from service-related post-traumatic stress disorder was sentenced Tuesday to 18 to 36 years in prison for strangling a woman in 2012 during a night fueled by drink and crack cocaine. Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi told Larry Rodriguez that although officials were not able to access his military records, she did not doubt he suffered from PTSD. But DeFino-Nastasi said it was equally clear Rodriguez knew he became very violent when using alcohol and crack, because in 2008 he tried to strangle his mother.
November 12, 2015 |
Von Wiggins laughed at the small troubles he got into back in his Army days. "One time I was hanging around the female barracks [at Fort Meade] and I didn't leave when they told me to," he recalled last week over breakfast near his home in Rhawnhurst. It was around 1971. He was 23, just back from Vietnam, feeling carefree. But the memory of that bloodied old man hunched over those rocks still haunted him. So did the wave of terror he'd felt when that flapping motion outside his bunker revealed itself to be a hand in the moonlight.
July 29, 2015 |
THE CADET FROM Northeast Philly left at dawn yesterday in her freshly starched uniform, nervous and ready for something new, but the person she'd always imagined kissing goodbye before that journey began wasn't there to see her go. Maria Gill was a Catholic school teacher when she fell for Philadelphia firefighter Timothy Gill. It was the uniform, she said. When he'd come home after a shift, Maria would listen to Tim's stories while she graded papers or prepared lesson plans, and she was drawn in by his tales of firehouse bonds, the big cookouts between the runs and those days when they'd beat back the flames and feel blessed to be alive.
May 16, 2015 |
Passengers who survived this week's Amtrak crash may have a rough month ahead of them, psychologically speaking, but most will recover on their own without much help from professionals. "Most people will naturally figure this out and come out of it," said David Yusko, clinical director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety. Predicting who won't is more challenging, he said. He and Kenneth Reinhard, a New York psychologist who worked for decades at a VA hospital, agreed that educating people about what they are likely to feel - normalizing those painful emotions - would help them accept and process their responses.
May 11, 2015 |
Years after he was exposed to Agent Orange in the steamy jungles of Vietnam, Bob Evans was prescribed morphine to kill his excruciating pain. He lived mostly in a stupor until early last year, when he began weaning himself off the addictive drug. A few months later, Evans, 66, surprised his family and friends by dancing with his daughter, Amanda, at her wedding. "I feel so much better," Evans said in an interview last month in the Mount Laurel home he shares with his wife, Donna.
April 29, 2015 |
Just four days after coming home to Northeast Philadelphia from Iraq in 2003, Tim Wynn got into a bar fight. The Marine was arrested for the first time in his life. That wasn't even the worst of it. "I can remember, my mother and my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, they didn't know what to do," he said. It took five years and six more arrests before he began court-ordered treatment for the PTSD that he didn't know he had. His homecoming might have been easier if he could have had access to a new website for Philadelphia-area veterans that went live Monday.
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?