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Coming Home PA

In April 2012, Essential Public Radio worked with media partners to bring you an ongoing series of stories about veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan coming back to their families, friends and jobs in Pennsylvania.

Public Forum

Trauma & Transition

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As part of the Coming Home PA series, Essential Pittsburgh hosted a public forum focusing on the issues veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq face when returning home.

  • Linda Klootwyk is a Program Manager of Patient Accounts at Veterans' Affairs Health Administration Service.
  • Sean Parnell is a former U.S. Army Ranger and the best-selling author of Outlaw Platoon.
  • John Bittner was a paratrooper in Viet Nam, and now a Veterans' Employment Representative for PA CareerLink.

Veterans and veterans’ advocates gathered Wednesday night to hash out some of the issues facing GI’s as they return from combat zones and try to assimilate back into stateside life. The discussion repeatedly returned to finding and keeping a job.

When many U.S. military personnel leave the service to return home, they might not have a home to return to or they wind up in the streets eventually.

As men and women return from military tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, they go through a significant adjustment as they rejoin civilian life. Part of that adjustment is figuring how to communicate their experience at war. This can be especially challenging for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who are trying to build new, romantic relationships.

For veterans, coming home has always been bittersweet. Going from combat in a different environment to whatever is home has never been easy. But veterans and those who work with them say with the multiple deployments that have become the norm in military service, coming home is harder than its ever been.

Studies and anecdotal evidence are pointing toward a surprisingly simply way to help veterans deal with combat injuries and stress: getting them outdoors. The Allegheny Front’s Jennifer Szweda Jordan spoke with Stacy Bare, who heads up The Sierra Club’s Military Families and Veterans Initiative, about how time in the outdoors is benefiting many veterans.

Our Partners in the “Coming Home PA" Series

  • The Allegheny Front
  • Public Source
  • New Pittsburgh Courier
  • Pittsburgh City Paper
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Pop City
  • WQED