CU's veterans group to present program by 'Wounded Warrior'

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Will discuss post-traumatic stress disorder



Joan C. McKinney

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University's Semper Paratus Severe, the veterans’ club at CU, will present a program on post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and service dogs at 7 p.m. Friday, April 5, in Ransdell Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

SSG Mike Jeffrey of the United States Army, with his wife Shelly, will speak about his experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder. There will be a special appearance by Seal Team, Jeffrey's service dog. Jeffrey is from Rineyville.

Dr. Roscoe Bowen, associate professor of exercise science who serves as advisor for the university's veterans' club, said post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by the exposure to traumatic events and can occur in anyone who has experienced such an event.

He said, for a soldier, the death and mutilation caused and seen by them or even done unto them or their compatriots is a traumatic experience that can cause PTSD.

"Military personnel are trained to adapt and overcome adversity; they are taught that they have a capacity to accept challenge and achieve distinction," he said.

Bowen said this builds mental toughness that can at times make it difficult to accept that there may be a problem that they cannot cope with on their own.

Jeffrey is a retired Army veteran of two one-year deployments with Operation Iraqi Freedom. His physical injuries are from having his armored vehicle nearly blown up twice by enemy ordnance.

Bowen said his major wounds are ones that cannot be seen and helping with them is the specialty of Seal Team, who is a Doberman Pinscher trained to help Jeffrey cope with constant issues of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Bowen said Jeffrey will talk of his experience in accepting he had a problem and how he came to seek and find help. He said Jeffrey's wife will share what family members experience in dealing with a loved one struggling with PTSD and how this adds to the stress in the family unit.

"With the aid of Shelly and now Seal Team, Jeffrey works toward becoming a productive member of American society," Bowen said.

Jeffrey's appearance is part of the Wounded Warrior Project, the mission of which is to "honor and empower wounded warriors." Their purpose is to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured services members - "heroes with battle scars."

The Wounded Warrior Project serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001, and their families.

Semper Paratus Servere, which means "always prepared to serve," is the Veterans Club of CU. The club's stated mission is to serve fellow veterans by providing assistance in transitioning from warrior to student. Bowen said this is accomplished by helping veterans navigating the academic environment at CU, guiding them in the right direction where help can be found and providing camaraderie.

Bowen said the club welcomes all veterans from all eras of service who are attending CU to become members of the club. Semper Paratus Servere is also open to those on active duty, in the Reserve, National Guard and Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

Bowen said the April 5 program will include, in addition to Jeffrey's talk, recognition of veterans and service members and historical commentary by Albert Harrison, U.S. Army Vietnam era veteran from Middletown.

"Anyone who knows, cares for, hires, or loves a veteran should attend this presentation. They may gain an understanding as to why some veteran's struggle with transitioning from warrior to civilian," Bowen said.

For more information, contact Bowen at 789-5509 or rcbowen@campbellsville.edu.

Campbellsville University has been listed in the G.I. Jobs' "Military Friendly Schools" as among the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools which are doing the most to embrace America's veterans as students.