Conference to focus on needs of wounded vets

Thursday, May 28, 2009

By Brittney Slovak

In the Vietnam war, for every soldier killed, three came home wounded. In Iraq, for every soldier killed, seven come home wounded. While the fatality numbers are dropping since the start of the war in Iraq, more veterans are coming home hurting both physically and emotionally. With more soldiers coming home wounded, the need for therapy and physical treatment is becoming a pressing issue and will be recognized in an upcoming conference.

“We are all responsible to each other,” said Evelyn Scholl, director of communications at the Southwest Council. The organization is hosting the conference entitled, “The Battle Beneath: the Camouflage Continues, the Plight of Returning Vets.”  The conference, which is scheduled for June 5 in Vineland, focuses on veterans who are trying to adjust to civilian life and are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI can occur from being near blasts and explosives as well as falls and motor vehicle accidents.

Melissa Arnott, a counselor and educator, will be speaking in the morning about the anger issues facing the veterans, the guilt they face, the drug and alcohol abuse and other topics facing veterans. Arnott is a licensed professional counselor in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and owns a private counseling practice. Currently she works as a director of the Academic Success Center at Rowan University, and started the second Student Veterans Association.

“It is heartwrenching to see these young people leave and come back in the condition they are in,” said Arnott.  The afternoon will host a panel of experts such as Eric Arauz of Arauz Inspirational Enterprises, a disabled American veteran; and Lauren Delricci, president of Rowan University’s Student Veterans Association. The panel will be moderated by Angelo Romeo, who was in the U.S. Army in Germany and Vietnam and is currently the director of the Gloucester County Office of Veterans Affairs.  In previous wars, the help was limited to the soldiers, not attending to the families who were being affected by PTSD. The number of services is branching out to group therapy, couples counseling and family therapy.


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