ST. GEORGE – As a prelude to Veterans Day, Dixie State College of Utah and DOCUTAH Southern Utah International Documentary Film Festival will offer an encore screening of the documentary film, “Souvenirs: Healing After War,” at the college’s Dunford Auditorium at 7 p.m., Friday, followed by a veterans panel discussion.
Pat Lisi, director of Southern Utah VETS AID and a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, described the focus of the film:
It’s about a girl’s father, a Vietnam vet, who is living proof of what happens to a lot of veterans as a result of their exposure to war (referring to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD). It could be about any war. The ‘souvenirs’ are the mental ‘gifts’ that a veteran gets to take home with him or her after the war. This documentary is expertly and profoundly written and produced by this vet’s daughter, who brought the film to St. George during DOCUTAH.
I saw it and was moved to talk Mara Pelecis (the producer of the film), afterwards to see if we could borrow the film sometime and re-screen it here for our veterans. The significance of watching and understanding this film is huge. With so many veterans returning home these days from the ‘sand box’ wars, it is important that they and their families come to grips early with all the problems (souvenirs) that will be with these guys and gals for the rest of their lives.
A panel of veterans will be on hand after the show to answer questions. Panel members include Lisi, Bruce Solomon of the Southern Utah Veterans Center, radio host Jon Smith, and an undisclosed surprise guest – a female veteran who served in “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Iraq.
Lisi served with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division in 1968 and 69, was wounded in action and is a “lifelong client” in the Veterans Affairs’ PTSD and Anxiety Management programs. Lisi’s philosophy statement is: “It will always be with me while I am alive, so it’s most important that I do’t let PTSD control me or my actions.”
Now assisting St. George veterans as a Readjustment Counselor, Solomon is a veteran Marine who served with the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment for 17 months in Vietnam in 1968-69. His history includes several years self-treating his own PTSD, considering at one point that “accident” that would end his life, and eventually finding assistance from the VA and learning to manage his “disorder.”
Familiar to Southern Utah radio listeners, Smith is the Morning show Host on 95.9 KZHK The Hawk. Though not a veteran himself, Smith twice-served as an embedded media correspondent with the National Guard’s 222nd Field Artillery in Iraq in 2008 and 2011. He was recently awarded the “Red Cross Community Hero Award” for his support of our troops during Operations Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn.
Event details and contact information
When: Nov. 9, from 7-9 p.m.
Where: Dunford Auditorium on the Dixie State College campus, 225 S 700 East, St. George
Contact: Lani Puriri I DOCUTAH Operations Manager, DSC Cultural Arts Community Outreach