Tanya Thomas, a Veteran’s widow
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Concerned Chaplains Meet to Help Our Warriors Heal
VANY Harbors Chaplaincy hosted an information session and focused group for community chaplains at the St. Albans VAECC on August 28, 2012 with the purpose of how Harbor and community chaplains can partner in ministering to our Veteran families.
VA Police sergeant Joseph Brown and Marine Corps Veteran described the disconnect he experienced returning to his wife of twenty years after a year's deployment in Iraq. "I was nervous," he said.” The military prepares us to disconnect. What do we do to reconnect?”
Tanya Thomas, Marine Corps Veteran widow, discussed her family’s struggle to manage after her husband was struck down by a brain embolism days before he was to be deployed to the Persian Gulf. She added that the effect of trauma on Veteran families is similar, regardless of where it occurs, and the loss is just as painful.
Chief Chaplain Andrew Sioleti, Chaplain and Navy Veteran Charles Hall, and VANY Harbor psychologist Dr. Arthur Russo, offered an overview of VA health services, and then led an in-depth discussion about the impact of deployment on the Veteran's families, especially the children. They stated that Veteran families are best served when chaplaincy and mental health work together. Often the question is one of discernment, to what extent is this issue spiritual, to what extent psychological, said Dr. Russo. Chaplain Hall added that our goal is “not to try to fix the unfixable” but, rather to support the difficult challenge for Veterans to confront and “grow through” their issues. Chief Chaplain Sioleti emphasized how we needed to work together, as VA chaplains and community clergy, to learn from and to support each other as we minister to our Veteran families.