I volunteered to join an advisory board that oversaw a federal grant for mental health services for veterans and families. The work was tedious and at arms-length from the services offered and from the vets and their families. A colleague I had met at the Leadership Greater McHenry County leadership course also joined the board. Mary Margaret Maule and I began to plan to start an effort where we could do something to help veterans tell their stories and somehow contribute to their mental health.
We created Voices of Veterans, a writing workshop, where veterans could gather and get their stories out of their gut and onto paper. Over 25 veterans from World War II to Afghanistan have sat around the table at the TLS Veterans office in McHenry, Illinois, to write, read and listen to each other’s accounts of their military service and other events in their lives. What has happened is nothing short of transformation. Strangers have become close friends. Intimate stories have been told; tears have been shed.
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