Portland, June 21st.  Returning Veterans Project (RVP) supporters gathered at the First Unitarian Church to celebrate success.  Carol Levine (RVP Founder) and Belle Landau (RVP Executive Director) enjoyed the social hour. Carol Levine talked about the nonprofit’s history and the outstanding work of its members, supporters and volunteers.  Cameron Smith read a message from Governor Kitzhaber and the tone was set for Joe Buck (RVP Client) to offer his personal “Thank You from a Veteran”.  His message brought some to tears. 

Carol Levine and Sarah Smith hug RVP Client Joe Buck after a heartfelt speech.

Carol Levine and Belle Landau hugged Vetern, Joe Buck after a heartfelt speech.

Margaret Eichler PhD, LPC, and Suzanne Best PhD both generously volunteer for the RVP.  Margaret works in trauma care and helps many of her interns get involved with RVP.  Suzanne has been working with veterans since 1996 and got involved in RVP when it was just a year old.

Margaret Eichler PhD, LPC, and Suzanne Best, PhD both generously volunteer for the RVP. Margaret works in trauma care and helps many of her interns get involved with RVP. Suzanne has been working with veterans since 1996 and got involved in RVP when it was just a year old.

RVP Providers Barbara Steven, the only Chaplain in the RVP, Kyra Plume, LMT, and Sonia Connolly, LMT smile as they prepared for "The Welcome" to begin.

RVP Providers Barbara Steven, the only Chaplain in the RVP, Kyra Plume, LMT, and Sonia Connolly, LMT, smile as they prepared for The Welcome to begin.

Bryan Baisinger, Belle Landau, Abe Cohen, DC, Carol Levine and Sarah Smith gather together during the social hour and prepare for the start of the movie.

Bryan Baisinger, Belle Landau, Abe Cohen, DC, Carol Levine and Sarah Smith gather together during the social hour and prepare for the start of the movie.

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington Returning Veterans Project works with veterans to provide a “holistic healing model” that creates a “new model of mental healthcare”, as Sarah Smith put it.  The organization connects independent and politically unaffiliated health care practitioners to current service members and returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  RVP also offers its services to other members of the families.  Sarah Smith explains the “holistic healing model”  as a program which goes beyond mental health and provides services from acupuncturists, massage therapists, naturopaths, and many others.  Program managers say counseling provided through the RVP is safe, confidential, and dedicated to the well-being of the service men and women and their families.

RVP will hold another event on June 30th at 7:00 pm.  This event will also be held in the First Unitarian Church in Portland.  This event is titled “Voice of Veterans” and is a welcoming ceremony featuring author Michael Meade and original poetry.

 From The Returning Veterans Project:

Returning Veterans Project was created as a conduit for professionals to give to veterans and their families, and for veterans to find health services in confidential settings that help them feel welcome in the community.”

For more information visit RVP’s website: http://www.returningveterans.org/

At the event supporters also had a chance to get their first look at the award winning documentary, The Welcome.

About the film: The Welcome offers a fiercely intimate view of life after war: the fear, anger and isolation of post-traumatic stress that affects vets and family members alike. As we join these vets in a small room for an unusual five day healing retreat, we witness how the ruins of war can be transformed into the beauty of poetry.Their examples of unflinching honesty, courage and love lift us up, inspiring all of us once again to feel our common humanity, always the first casualty of war.

Reported by Genevieve Reaume

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