Fascinating WWI account by nurse from Holyoke

While at Dannes-Camiers, Base Hospital No. 5 frequently was attacked by enemy aircraft, and on the night of September 4, 1917, suffered several casualties. Lieut. William T. Fitzsimons, M. C., was killed, Lieuts. Rae W. Whidden, Thaddeus D. Smith, and Clarence A. McGuire, M. C., were wounded. Lieutenants Whidden and Smith subsequently died. Three enlisted men were killed and five severely wounded; one nurse and 22 patients were wounded. These deaths were the first among the American Expeditionary Forces clue to enemy activity.

Read More

The dichotomy of the returning warrior

Bill Munsell knows all too well the struggles that come after returning from battle — he’s done it twice.

“I have to be a dad and a husband and still deal with the things I saw,” says Munsell, 54, a sergeant first class in the National Guard. That dichotomy — that there are two sides to a soldier — is integral to understanding how to help veterans, he says.

Read More

Vietnam War pins signify more than you’d know

The pinning ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, March 15, after the Yoga Warriors class that veteran Roy Dennington credits with giving him a renewed resilience in his post-war and post trauma life. The pinning will begin about 12:30 p.m. at Central Mass Yoga and Wellness, 45 Sterling Street, No. 28, West Boylston, Mass (top floor of Causeway Mall — intersection of Mass. Rtes. 110 and 12).  Belinda Morrone, a retired Air Force colonel and nurse who supported U.S. military air evacuations from the Gulf wars through the ongoing post-911 Mideast conflicts, will present the Vietnam War Veteran pins.

Read More

Heading Toward Home Base

As part of a panel of veterans and those who work with veterans, Ryan Casavant plans to tell his own story and then tell others about Home Base. The nonprofit was founded by the Red Sox Foundation after the baseball team made a trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The players had been planning to spend just a few hours there, but ended up spending an entire day and having to be dragged out at closing time. “They realized they wanted to do something” and Home Base was born, says Casavant. Massachusetts General Hospital is a partner in the program, which is self-funded through donations and fundraising and specializes in helping not just veterans, but their families as well.

Read More

Returning from war

Roy Dennington remembers all too clearly the ordeals he had after returning from war, both immediate and delayed.

There was the initial homecoming, when Vietnam veterans were ostracized to the point that Dennington and his comrades went into hiding. Then there were the problems adjusting to civilian life, including stress, bankruptcy and “way too much drinking.”

Then, decades after Dennington’s service, things became problematic again. “What had not been apparent earlier became more apparent,” says Dennington, 73, of Clinton, Mass. He had monumental health problems, a heartbreaking family tragedy and was watching his life unravel in front of his eyes.

“I don’t like to say PTSD, but that’s my diagnosis,” he says.

Read More