North East Veterans Travel to Little Rock Arkansas
Six Veterans from the North East of England are to travel to Little Rock Arkansas this weekend to to take part in the first Veterans International Exchange Programme. (VIEP) The veterans aged from 28 to 65 years and all with personal experience of PTSD and/or difficulties making the transition from military to civilian life will spend the cultural exchange relaxing in the great outdoors and learning about interventions that improve the lives of combat veterans following their return home after deployment. The North East veterans will link with veterans from Arkansas and reciprocate a visit for their US counterparts in May 2014. The trip will include visits to a Veterans Treatment Court and opportunities to see local attractions such as military museums and other areas of interest.The veterans will learn about Citizen Diplomacy and on return to the UK have been invited to the Houses of Parliament to give a presentation to interested parties on their experiences and findings.One member has been invited to give a presentation on the impact of Combat Operational Stress on family members at a local University in Arkansas whilst others will be laying wreaths on War Memorials in Little Rock as a mark of respect. The trip will also be filmed as part of an ongoing documentary which will capture the experiences of the veterans involved . Tony Wright CEO of Forward Assist and Sherman Banks (Vietnam Veteran) first met in 2011 during Tony's Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship research trip. Since that time both have worked tirelessly to make this idea become a reality. Support for the project on both sides of the Atlantic has been fantastic with UNITED AIRLINES ,CH2M HILL, ARISTOTLE and SAGE (UK) LTD sponsoring the trip.