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Veterans to share stories at The Varsity during conference

Submitted by Carbondale Times on

Carbondale Times

The VA Medical Center in Marion and SIU Veterans Center will host a conference Thursday, Nov. 9, in which veterans will present their stories in a “TED Talk” type of platform.

The StorytellersX Conference will be at The Varsity Center, 418 S. Illinois, Ave., in Carbondale. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the first speaker going on at 6 p.m.

All of the speakers are veterans from the Southern Illinois community. Seven speakers are scheduled to share their stories of how they have successfully integrated back into the community and continue to serve. Each presenter will speak for about five to seven minutes.

Fewer Americans serve in the military today than ever before. With base consolidation, post 9/11 security measures, repeated deployments, and an all-volunteer force, many civilians have been isolated from service members and military culture.

Research shows that the majority of Americans view veterans as either broken or heroic. In reality, veterans are everyday Americans with diverse experiences and stories to share. Research also shows that veterans are more civically engaged. They vote, volunteer and serve in their communities at higher rates than those without a military background.

StorytellersX showcases the talents and ideas of some of the country’s brightest and most groundbreaking veterans. The program gives veterans the opportunity to share their stories, challenge stereotypes and misconceptions, foster understanding and connect with their communities.

Confirmed speakers include Dr. Hank Deiters, Angelo Hightower, Francis Pass, John Okerson, Tom Harnes, Martin Parsons and Christopher Seaman.

Attendance is free, and will provide an opportunity for community members to gain an understanding of the veteran experience, build relationships and connections, and inspire local leaders to empower veterans to lead again.

The Facebook event link is https://www.facebook.com/events/363301344094993/.

For more information, contact Williams Martinez at Williams.martinez-lopez@va.gov or Paul Copeland at paul.copeland@siu.edu.

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