McCandless veterans service to feature short, poignant stories
Short but poignant stories will be part of a service for veterans, their families and local residents on March 30 at Memorial Park Church in McCandless.
“We're offering this service to provide veterans the opportunity to feel God's loving presence and to offer the community an opportunity to walk alongside these vets in their healing,” said Jaime Dean, director of Small Groups and Community Care for Military at the church.
The service, set for 11 a.m., will include a video presentation based on a project and book by Army veterans Shaun Wheelwright and Mike Nemeth titled “Six Word War,” in which soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan were encouraged to share their stories and experiences in just six words. Some contributions were: “Incoming rockets? Turn up the music,” and “Tried my best. We all did.”
Dean, 48, of Marshall Township, chose six words to describe her feelings as the mother of a 23-year-old Army drone pilot serving in Afghanistan: “Mom's worry. Surrendered to hope. Peace.”
“We want to help veterans find meaning in their experience because a lot of them struggle with that,” Dean said.
She is collecting six-word essays from local veterans and military families to use in the video. People who wish to contribute may send their six words by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by March 24.
“It's a way to build a bridge toward veterans understanding their own story and being able to accept it,” she said. “There's a lot of power in storytelling.”
The service, called “A Warrior's Journey Home,” also will include a message from the Rev. Paul Becker, pastor of administration at Memorial Park Church, whose son was deployed to Afghanistan on March 3.
Roger Brooke, a professor of psychology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and director of the school's military psychological services, will speak about grief.
Afterward, pastors and chaplains from local churches will be available to anyone seeking prayer. Brooke will be on hand to provide counseling.
Deborah Crawford of Shaler Township wrote: “Alone, I wait until you're home.” These six words describe her anxiety and anticipation while waiting for her daughter and son-in-law — Army Sgt. Dianne Crawford Dooge, 22, a combat medic, and Army Pvt. Wes Dooge, 21, an infantry mortarman — to return from tours in Afghanistan.
“There isn't much support for the parents when they live far from their child's military base,” Crawford said.
She has participated in the military support group at Memorial Park and finds solace in being with other parents.
She attended last year's Field of Flags ceremony, for which a display of 6,673 flags was set up on the church grounds to represent the number of American military personnel who had died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as of last spring. And she helped with a church breakfast for veterans.
Crawford is not a member of Memorial Park Church. Her involvement in its military ministry, however, inspired her to motivate leaders in her own church, Allegheny Center Alliance Church on Pittsburgh's North Side, to do more for military personnel, veterans and their families.
Church members are eager to embrace the outreach ministry, although they haven't started the program yet, she said.
Laurie Rees is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pleasant Hills library to put new voices on old-time radio shows
- Retailer, Ross Park Mall owner form partnership
- Northway developer seeks variance requests without knowing tenants, buildings
- Cyber campaign nets protective vest for Northern Regional Police dog
- Photo Gallery: Testing airplanes at North Hills High School
- Pine-Richland school board seat to be contested in fall
- One incumbent out, races remain for Shaler school board
- Hampton High dance event doubles fundraising goal
- Primary results keep all candidates in race
- School board primary choices advance to general election
- Jeter Backyard Theater effort helps foster children