Judge John T. Phillips, retired Chief Judge of the 19th Judicial Court, has been elected to the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation Board of Directors, effective October 18, 2016. Judge Phillips represents the highest caliber jurist in our country's judicial system. He is a Veteran of the Vietnam Era and a former JAG Officer in the United States Air Force.
He retired from the bench at the end of January, 2016 after having served two terms as Chief Circuit Judge. He continues to serve on the Special Supreme Court Advisory Committee for Justice and Mental Health Planning of the Illinois Supreme Court. He is also a member of the governing Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, a fraternal Masonic organization. He serves as its Grand Chancellor, representing the fraternity throughout the world in its relations with other Scottish Rite and related jurisdictions.
Traveling through an airport recently, I witnessed a now-commonplace ritual: military personnel getting head-of-the-line privileges in the boarding area. As we complete the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, one of the legacies of the longest war in our history is how the public has rallied to support those who served.
While this can seem superficial at times, there is not a vet alive who would prefer the other extreme. My father served in Vietnam, and the welcome home his generation received was a national disgrace.
Unfortunately, the modern-day lionization of veterans has itself gone too far. In Washington, this knee-jerk support has resulted in policy decisions that will hurt both vets and the larger public over time.
Soldiers wait out a sandstorm in Iraq. (The inclusion of the soldiers pictured in this story should not be construed to indicate that any of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.)
Though only 10 percent of American forces see combat, the U.S. military now has the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in its history. Sebastian Junger investigates.
The first time I experienced what I now understand to be post-traumatic stress disorder, I was in a subway station in New York City, where I live. It was almost a year before the attacks of 9/11, and I’d just come back from two months in Afghanistan with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance. I was on assignment to write a profile of Massoud, who fought a desperate resistance against the Taliban until they assassinated him two days before 9/11. At one point during my trip we were on a frontline position that his forces had just taken over from the Taliban, and the inevitable counterattack started with an hour-long rocket barrage. All we could do was curl up in the trenches and hope. I felt deranged for days afterward, as if I’d lived through the end of the world.
Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation President and Founder talked with hostess Bev Cooper of the TV program "Coopert's Corner" about Veteran issues and how LCVFSF works with those in need of help in Lake County communities. LCVFSF is available with a network of local services and providers to facilitate service members and/or their family members reintegrate and find new direction, meaning, purpose and hope in life after the military experience.
The interview is one hour of enlightening and helpful information. Click on the picture above to watch the June 3, 2015 program.
September 5, 2014
Newly published research by Stanford scholar Emma Seppala shows how meditation and breathing exercises can help military veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.
BY CLIFTON B. PARKER
For several years, Emma Seppala, associate director of Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and lead author of the article, has been studying the effects of breathing-based meditation practices on veterans suffering from PTSD.
"This is the first randomized controlled study on a form of meditation or yoga for veterans with PTSD that has shown such long-term, lasting effects," she said in an interview.
PTSD, which affects about one in five veterans, is typically triggered by the experience of a terrifying or life-threatening event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts and emotions. Returning vets suffering from PTSD have extremely high suicide rates, Seppala said.
Dr. Stanley G. McCracken, Ph.D, LCSW, RDDP, has been elected an Ex-Officio member of the Board of Directors of the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation effective October 18, 2016. Dr. McCracken is a Vietnam Veteran of the U.S. Army.
McCracken is Lecturer in the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. He has written about psychiatric rehabilitation, addiction, behavioral pharmacology, behavioral medicine, aging, motivational interviewing, and staff training. He is co-author of Interactive Staff Training and Practice Guidelines for Extended Psychiatric Residential Care and co-editor of From Task-Centered Social Work to Evidence-Based and Integrative Practice: Reflections on History and Implementation.
He has forty years’ experience as a clinician, educator, and consultant. His practice interests include mental health, drug, and medical problems; aging; addressing cross-cultural and spirituality in direct practice; and veterans’ issues. He served as a linguist in the US Army in Vietnam.
WASHINGTON – Dan Mikulecky had an epiphany during his 2004 deployment to Iraq with the Montana National Guard.
He had joined the Guard for college, but wasn't sure the direction he wanted to go in life post-deployment. Being out in the Iraqi countryside, however, it became clear to him: he wanted to return to rural Montana and become a farmer.
When he got back to the U.S., Mikulecky received a preferential veteran's loan, agricultural training and financial advising through Northwest Farm Credit Services. He purchased land in Rudyard, Montana and grow it into a thriving wheat and grain farm.
"The hours from the service and the hours that you put into agriculture are very closely related," Mikulecky said. "Yeah, it's a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, but we're self-starters, always trying to go the extra mile."
Hunter Garth, 26, a veteran who fought in Afghanistan: "I pulled the trigger. You didn't. Don't take that away from me." by Matt Richtel, The New York Times.
HUNTER GARTH was in a gunfight for his life and about to lose.
He and seven other Marines were huddled in a mud hut, their only refuge after they walked into an ambush in Trek Nawa, a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan. Down to his last 15 bullets, one buddy already terribly wounded, Mr. Garth pulled off his helmet, smoked a cheap Afghan cigarette, and came to terms with what was happening.
I'm going to die here with my best friends, he recalled thinking.
I didn't know any of this, nor the remarkable story of his survival that day when I met him two months ago in Colorado while reporting for an article about the marijuana industry, for which Mr. Garth and his company provide security. But I did know he was a vet and so I did what seemed natural: I thanked him for his service.
No problem, he said.
It wasn't true. There was a problem. I could see it from the way he looked down. And I could see it on the faces of some of the other vets who work with Mr. Garth when I thanked them too. What gives, I asked? Who doesn't want to be thanked for their military service?
Jan C. Scruggs is the founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and is responsible for the construction and placement of The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
In 1978 he started the fund by contributing $2200 of his own money for a memorial to be erected in memory of the 58,000 lives sacrified during the 20 year U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Scruggs was a combat infantryman who was with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He saw significant action during his tour in 1969-1970 and was wounded in action. Upon his return and recovery, he began a crusade for Vietnam Veterans that is as relevant and poignant today as it was August 5, 1978 when he wrote an article for the Washington Post.
From its inception. The Wall was intended to not only memorialize those who sacrificed their lives but also to foster a healing about the war. It does both. The healing process continues today. For over 32 years, The Wall has been the most visited memorial in the world.
Click on Continue Reading to read Scruggs' article.