As more and more U.S. troops return home from America’s wars overseas, many communities across the country are facing the challenge of how best to care for the nation’s wounded and disabled veterans and to support effectively their successful transition into civilian life.
Retired Army Col. Kevin McDonnell, director of the U.S. Special Operations Command Care Coalition, will speak to those challenges during a lecture on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the UNC School of Social Work. McDonnell served 29 years as a Green Beret in many command positions and provides direct oversight of non-medical case management for the Care Coalition. The coalition offers recovery, rehabilitation, reintegration, and transition services to special ops troops who are wounded, ill, or injured.
The lecture, which is free to the public, also will include a panel discussion with McDonnell, and Tommy Norman, president of Norcom Properties and founder of Charlotte Bridge Home, a nonprofit that assists Charlotte veterans with education, employment, and health care needs; Paul Passaro, a U.S. Army combat veteran and program director of Charlotte Bridge Home; and Easter Maynard, a 1997 MSW graduate of UNC’s School of Social Work and leader of Golden Corral Corporation’s signature philanthropy project Camp Corral, a free summer camp for children of wounded, disabled or fallen soldiers.
Nationwide, interest in shoring up support for service members has increased with the news that many communities are welcoming home troops who are dealing with a myriad of physical and mental health problems, including traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorders.
“So many may face physical issues or emotional concerns,” said School of Social Work Dean Jack M. Richman. “They may require employment and training assistance, health services, partner and parenting counseling, or assistance in dealing with homelessness or housing issues.”
Richman said he’s pleased that UNC and the School of Social Work are already playing a significant role in preparing professionals to meet these veterans’ needs. The Sept. 20 lecture will offer members of the public a chance to learn more about how they can help, too.
The event will be held in the auditorium of the Tate-Turner-Kuralt Building on UNC’s campus, at 325 Pittsboro St., in Chapel Hill. Parking will be available in the deck of the FedEx Global Education building on the corner of Pittsboro and McCauley streets.