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Photo: Diocese of Texas[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] Col. Lynn Smith-Henry (ret.) and Kim Perlock, a classical guitarist and educator, weren’t necessarily on the same journey until David Boyd, the rector of St. David’s, Austin, introduced them.Smith-Henry—also a Lutheran pastor in the Anglican studies program at Seminary of the Southwest—was looking for a way to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Perlock knew many of her students were veterans who struggled to reengage in a culture of entitlement and abundance following multiple deployments. She wanted to help, and with Smith-Henry, established a guitar therapy class that was grounded in the community of faith at St. David’s. It has offered hope, healing and a way for vets to begin to reenter their lives back home.“It’s hard to be a 28-year-old veteran and get too concerned about what model BMW some freshman’s parents are buying him,” said Robert, one of Perlock’s students at Austin Community College.“When you have experienced war you come home a different person,” Smith-Henry said. “It’s just a very different sensibility.”Learning to trust and even to have normal conversations are adjustments for vets with PTSD, Smith-Henry explained. “Many vets who suffer from PTSD don’t have coping skills to deal with the loss of a friend either as a casualty of war or as a suicide after returning,” he said. “Many have moments of anger that they struggle to control. They had no control over what they experienced during their deployments and that manifests in anger and disassociations with people once they return home. Vets can feel a sense of violation and abandonment and have an inability to communicate.”The VA recently referred Scott Latham to the group. “Just being together means the most to me,” Latham said. “Music is becoming an outlet for me to get away from the bad stuff in my head,” he added.Perlock was teaching at Concordia College and Austin Community College when she realized that some of her students responded similarly. She was delighted to find a way to reach them.The first guitar class began in the spring of 2013 at St. David’s and now gathers weekly at the Armstrong Community Music School for two hours of playing music and additional time for socializing—a part of the program as important as the guitar lessons. “We found a formula that works,” Smith-Henry said, “and we’ve had really good results.”Margaret Perry has taught music for 40 years and is the director at the Armstrong School. “I know the healing grace of music for people, [especially] for those who have experienced violence it has a unique power to remind us of the goodness and beauty in life,” Perry said. “We understand the neurological benefits of music to help with physical challenges as well as mental focus and memory skills. And, of course, music is a healthy and joyful emotional outlet,” she added. The guitar program, she said, fits well with the school’s values of people bonding as friends and colleagues as much as teaching musical skills.Perlock recently accepted a position at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, but two instructors with exemplary skills were soon on board to help Smith-Henry. Jeremy Coleman is a Marine veteran and a classically trained music therapist in Austin. Kirby Kelly is a renowned blues musician who plays the slide guitar. Kelly drives four hours from Sherman, Texas, each Sunday to spend the afternoon with the vets and Coleman. The students play all kinds of music, but Kirby and Smith-Henry agree the blues is a great genre for therapy.“I am particularly interested in healthy coping strategies and the likelihood that a person will implement them,” Coleman said. “We [know] that people’s decision-making is based primarily on learned associations from past experiences,” he added, explaining that a positive music experience increases the likelihood that the vets will implement skills in a meaningful way in their everyday lives.Outside of class, many vets use the music as part of their personal therapy. When moments of anxiety or anger arise, they can pick up the guitar and go to a “safer” emotional place.“The real value of passive music therapy is that it’s a great tool for coping beyond a particular moment. You can take it with you and its always accessible,” Smith-Henry said.Smith-Henry believes the Church has an opportunity to respond to vets with programs like the guitar that began class at St. David’s. He said he was inadvertently called into this ministry because of his personal experience with PTSD. When he began to look at the issues surrounding it, he found many other vets simply were not asking for help. “They weren’t going to the VA and it seemed to me that church was just an easier place to begin,” he said.Most of the vets in the music ministry don’t have a religious background, but they are curious, Smith-Henry said. The church setting provided a neutral ground and although the classes are not religious, the setting felt safe. “This is a healing ministry,” he said.“I would like to see more veterans take advantage of the guitar program,” said Dave Summers, a regular member since the group’s founding. “It gives me something to look forward to each week,” he added.More than a year into the program, people have begun to get together outside of the guitar group. Students have begun to build a degree of trust, and although it was difficult for many to get to that point, “it is amazing to see,” Smith-Henry said.He has seen other changes as well. The group conversation is deeper, closer to home, he said. The vets feel safe enough to name moments in their lives that are “not so good,” even though specific memories or experiences are often not mentioned. St. David’s has provided space, local guitar shops have donated supplies, and talented musicians have given their time to help heal the warrior. Each step is small, but like notes on a page, when they are all played together, the music is sweet.Contact Smith-Henry at [email protected] to learn more. Pilgrimage to ReconciliationThe Episcopal Veterans Fellowship is a new initiative in the Diocese of Texas that seeks to follow the 2009 Resolution from General Convention to establish an “Episcopal Veterans Fellowship in every diocese.” The program, so far, consists of practicing ancient, medieval and contemporary healing rituals that enable veterans to find healing and reconciliation after their experience in combat. In the remembrance portion, participants move between the font and the altar, using the sacred space within which veterans may hold the names and memories of those they lost in war before God. The reconciliation portion of the “pilgrimage” recognizes that veterans are sent out from a community to fight, and that they must be received back into their spiritual community through the sacrament of reconciliation. The experience is held in the church and is casual. Veterans are able to connect spiritually to other church members who share their experience of war.To date, the groups have conducted two Pilgrimages of Remembrance and Reconciliation at St. David’s, Austin and one at Grace, Georgetown. A fourth will be held on September 28 at St. Martin’s-on-the-Hill, Copperas Cove. For more information about the EVF or how to host a Pilgrimage of Remembrance and Reconciliation at your parish, please contact the Rev. David W. Peters, DD. Peters has served as an enlisted Marine and Army chaplain in Iraq. He can be reached at [email protected] or 512.571.4124. Get updates on the EVF at facebook.com/EpiscopalVeteransFellowship. 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Facebook36Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Olympia Orthopaedic AssociatesOrthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons Timothy A. DuMontier, M.D., Richard J. Lamour, M.D., and Ryan E. Will, M.D., of Olympia Orthopaedic Associates are helping patients in Olympia take charge of their foot and ankle health. In conjunction with a new consumer awareness campaign from the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS), the leading organization for lower extremity medicine and foot and ankle surgery, Drs. DuMontier, Lamour and Will are helping the public recognize the value of seeking a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon for their foot and ankle healthcare needs. Area patients seeking specialized foot and ankle care are encouraged to schedule an appointment at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates in East or West Olympia by calling (360) 709-6230 or visiting www.olyortho.com.The nurses at the OOA outpatient surgery center are just part of the team that is available to you. Photo credit: Olympia Orthopaedic Associates“Consumers don’t generally give much thought to their foot health—that is, until something goes wrong,” states Dr. Timothy DuMontier. “Seventy-five percent of all people experience foot pain at some point in their lives, and that’s why the AOFAS felt it was imperative to educate consumers, so they know how to find the best medical care before a problem arises.”The campaign—called Look for the “O”—stresses the importance of choosing a specialized foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon when a person has foot pain or concerns. These surgeons have the expertise to help consumers keep their feet healthy and pain-free. The campaign promotes five distinctive value messages:That foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons are fully trained medical doctors (M.D.s and D.O.s) who can balance foot and ankle concerns with the patient’s whole body health.That foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons complete extensive and ongoing medical training, which increases their expertise and effectiveness.That foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons do not just operate but provide both surgical and non-surgical treatments for everything related to foot and ankle health.That foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons are particularly competent at treating complicated cases.That consumers should seek a second opinion from a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon, particularly when foot or ankle surgery is advised.Says Dr. Richard Lamour,“I want people in Olympia to know they can reach out and connect with a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon when they have any kind of foot or ankle problem. I think this campaign will go a long way toward increasing public awareness about the value foot and ankle surgeons and AOFAS members provide to patients every day.”About the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle SocietyAs a professional organization of foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons, the AOFAS promotes quality, ethical and cost-effective patient care through education, research and training of orthopaedic surgeons and other healthcare providers. The society creates public awareness for the prevention and treatment of foot and ankle disorders and serves as a resource for government and industry as well as the national and international healthcare communities.About Foot and Ankle Orthopaedic SurgeonsFoot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors (M.D.s and D.O.s) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. Their education and training consists of four years of medical school, five years of postgraduate training and often a fellowship year of specialized foot and ankle surgical training. Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons treat patients of all ages, performing reconstructive procedures, treating sports injuries and managing foot and ankle trauma.About Olympia Orthopaedic AssociatesOffering excellence in orthopaedic care, the specialty-trained doctors of Olympia Orthopaedic Associates are the dedicated leaders keeping you in motion. With 23 doctors specializing in joint replacement; neurosurgery; pain management; physical medicine and rehabilitation; sports medicine; and trauma, as well as providing care for the back, neck and spine; elbow; foot and ankle; hand and wrist; hip; knee; and shoulder, Olympia Orthopaedic Associates offers comprehensive orthopaedic care to Olympia and the surrounding areas with two office locations in Olympia and their Rapid Orthopaedic Care clinics in Lacey and West Olympia. The experts provide sports medicine coverage for Saint Martin’s University, South Puget Sound Community College, The Evergreen State College and many area high schools. To learn more about Olympia Orthopaedic Associates and its doctors, please visit www.olyortho.com, “Like” Olympia Orthopaedic Associates on Facebook or follow @OlyOrtho on Twitter.