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Guest Blog: Honoring a Military Family

After reading They Marched Into Sunlight, a powerful book about two days during the Vietnam War, written by Pulitzer Prize Winning journalist David Maraniss, Robin Becker, Artistic Director of Robin Becker Dance, felt compelled to create an evening-length dance.

Deeply moved by the integrity, honor, and commitment of both those who fought the war, and those who fought against it, Robin Becker embarked upon the creation of this dance hoping that the universal language of the body would reflect and offer the same sense of healing that David’s words evoked in her.

In the audience during the company’s performance at Georgetown University was Lieutenant Clark Welch, one of the featured veterans in David’s book. Lieutenant Clark Welch was one of the most decorated soldiers during Vietnam. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for his action at the battle of Ong Thanh, and also three Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars and five Purple Hearts for his service.

Lt. Clark Welch (January 3, 1940 – April 12, 2016) with the dancers of Robin Becker Dance

After studying Clark’s history through the book, he became one of the lead inspirations for many of the dancers, and they were remarkably honored to meet him personally.

Sadly, this past spring, Clark Welch passed away. Now, Robin Becker Dance continues to honor his legacy through dedicating Into Sunlight to him.

Clark’s wife, Lacy Welch, shares with us the impact the dance work Into Sunlight had on her and Clark:

Into Sunlight made a profound impression on both Clark and me. When we first heard that there was to be a dance about the book, we were skeptical (camo tutus and combat boots?) Then, Clark went to the opening night performance; he called me to tell how beautiful and overpowering the dance was. The act portraying his fallen soldiers turning into angels mirrored his hopes that his men who had made the supreme sacrifice were transformed by their actions. He was moved to tears by the dance.”

“Clark’s life has always been about the responsibility and stewardship of those who came within his circle. He carried those emotions with him forever, particularly towards his beloved Delta company, and he felt that “Into Sunlight” reflected and honored those soldiers, indeed, all those who go in harm’s way. He came home with great anger towards the actions and after actions of the battle and struggled with what he saw as a betrayal by his Army that he loved and revered and he carried that anger for the rest of his life, but I think that some of his anguish was assuaged by the Dance. I know that he remained grateful that the experience had been so meaningfully and beautifully portrayed.”

Because of these strong reactions to the work, similar to Clark’s, Robin Becker Dance is now committed to sharing this piece to a wider military audience. The grant from the DVNF has helped us bring excerpts of Into Sunlight, along with movement workshops directly to the veterans, most recently at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. As this partnership continues, it is our mission to help facilitate feelings of hope, healing and understanding to many more military families.

Stephanie Grover is the Administrator of Robin Becker Dance. For more information about Into Sunlight, visit www.robinbeckerdance.org.

Also take a look at the Robin Becker Dance Facebook page.

Guest Blog: 3 Beneficial Activities for PTSD

Life with PTSD can be tricky. You have to learn to cope with the symptoms and learn new tactics for feeling better. While treatment is a very important part of living with PTSD, there are a few things you can do to improve your quality of life at home such as form a routine. Every human being does better if they cultivate a routine to follow.

This is especially true for those with mental illness. The orderly existence prevents triggers for a number of disorders, including PTSD. So, if you have PTSD, you may want to consider a few of these activities to work into your daily schedule. Continue reading “Guest Blog: 3 Beneficial Activities for PTSD”

September is Suicide Prevention Month – Spread the Word!

September is Suicide Prevention Month. Data has revealed that on average, approximately 22 veterans a day commit suicide. It’s a national crisis, and one that we need to do more to fight.

Some research has shown that the military and veteran suicide rate is 50 percent higher than that of civilians, which is as sad as it is alarming. But there is something I can do, and there is something you can do to help save the lives of these veterans. Continue reading “September is Suicide Prevention Month – Spread the Word!”

It’s Not Just About the Fishing

 

Photo: Ed Kashi

Plans do not always work out. For some Veterans this deviation from the plan is often the result of an unforecasted, traumatic event that leaves many wondering, “What am I going to do now?” The Veterans that make their way to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing programs find that the multifaceted nature of fly fishing helps in answering that question. Continue reading “It’s Not Just About the Fishing”

Guest Blog: Tips for Veterans to Become Entrepreneurs

 

Contributed by:
Amy Ridgway
Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program

Traditionally, the first step an entrepreneur would take is to conduct extensive research and build a concrete business plan complete with all the details of running a business. Although this method teaches a comprehensive way to help entrepreneurs envision issues and a concrete method for developing the business plan for investors, the fact remains that at least 9 out of 10 startups will fail.

Continue reading “Guest Blog: Tips for Veterans to Become Entrepreneurs”

Guest Blog: Supporting Veterans with Mental Health Issues

Contributor: Helios Warriors, Marsha Bennett, Executive Director & Gulf War Veteran

The statistics concerning veterans with mental health issues are startling. According to the National Center for PTSD, between 11 and 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress and nearly 20% of soldiers involved in these wars have experienced a traumatic brain injury. These issues are certainly not new to those who have served in the armed forces. Veterans from every conflict throughout history have suffered from symptoms ranging from sleep disturbances, apathy, exaggerated startle response and personality changes to extreme anger and suicidal thoughts. An alarming 22 veterans commit suicide every day, according to a 2011 VA statistic. Continue reading “Guest Blog: Supporting Veterans with Mental Health Issues”

Signs of PTSD and What to Do Next

“Stay busy, stay focused on what’s up ahead.
Keep going.
No matter what, don’t think.
Don’t talk about it.
Can’t sleep.
Brain is a spinning top that turns and jumps, try to quiet it and the invisible hand hits the reset button, round and round we go again.
Drink. Drugs. Anything to numb it out.
Can’t deal with your BS right now.
Avoid That! No point going there.
No, pull back.
Push those guys away. Nobody needs me in their lives, I’m too messed up. The world is better off without me.
I can’t turn my brain off.
Can’t sleep.
Avoid.
Push them away…” Continue reading “Signs of PTSD and What to Do Next”