PANEL TAKES ON VETERANS MYTHS

Orangeburg, NY. On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, LIU Hudson at Rockland hosted a panel discussion entitled, Debunking The Myths About Working with Veterans. Professor Joe Falco, with the Department of Counseling at LIU Hudson at Rockland, moderated the event, which was sponsored by the graduate school’s Counseling Honor Society.

The panelists, comprised of three Marine Corps veterans, and, the coordinator of Veteran and Military Resources at Montclair State University afforded the audience, the opportunity to not only view the adjustment to civilian life through the lens of veterans, but also what they could do to help those who have served.

Dr. Phil Reicherter, one of the Marines, is a school psychologist at Suffern Middle School and on the faculty at LIU Hudson at Rockland. Dr. Reicherter served from August 1988 to August 1992 and was deployed in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He conveyed that veterans may not always openly and freely want to discuss their experiences and perhaps not be able to recognize their own needs. Many require some assistance to re-adjust to civilian life, but they are typically open to any and all support offered to them.

Corporal Johnathan Winfield served active duty in the Marine Corps from January 2000 to January 2006 and was deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Winfield, who is a student veteran at Rockland Community College, was hopeful that the audience walked away with a more accurate view of military Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “It is assumed that the majority of veterans suffer from PTSD, when in reality, the actual percentage of diagnosable cases is significantly less,” said Winfield.

John Vitale, also a student veteran at Rockland Community College, served in the Marine Corp for four years in the Post Vietnam Era. Vitale said that the “pity the veteran” mindset is ineffective and can actually be toxic.

Denise Rodak directs all the undergraduate veteran/military student programming and academic advising initiatives at Montclair State University. “A holistic approach works best,” explained Rodak. “Getting to know veterans as unique individuals and encouraging them to become increasingly self-aware is optimum.”