April Speakers at University Campus Capture Lives of Those Who Serve

April 09, 2013

Lifting Spirits: The Wounded Warrior Project

It took an entire year before Wounded Warrior Project speaker Susan Knab could watch her organization’s promotional video without tearing up. Knab shared the same video with a small gathering of Saint Leo University students, staff, and faculty members on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, during an informational session devoted to the Wounded Warrior Project, where she works as family support services coordinator. The project is a nonprofit dedicated to engaging veterans who have suffered injuries, empowering them economically, and caring for their minds, and bodies.

Wounded Warriors are invited to attend events together to foster a sense of community. “It lifts their spirits,” said Knab. The Wounded Warrior Project serves veterans from September 11th and later, but also does offer resources for those who don’t qualify for its programs. The organization is headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, and is in the process of opening a new office in Tampa. This new space will provide more opportunities for Saint Leo community members to engage in supporting our Wounded Warriors.

Knab was invited to the university as part of Saint Leo’s celebration of the 40-year anniversary of supporting the military, veterans, and their families with educational services.

Tracy Crow: "Everyone Has a Story to Tell"

On Friday, April 5, Saint Leo University hosted writer and Marine veteran Tracy Crow. The author of Eyes Right: Confessions of a Woman Marine, Crow spoke to a group of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members about her experiences in the Marine Corps, and read selections from her book.

Throughout the discussion, Crow emphasized that everyone has a story to tell, and every story matters. For her, Eyes Right was the story she never intended to tell. She explained that after overcoming a childhood marked by abuse, domestic violence, and her father’s alcoholism, she joined the Marines as a way to hide; however, in trying to lose herself in the military, she actually found herself.

Crow had her daughter while she was in the Marine Corps, and she was a member of the first generation of women who did not have to choose between the military and motherhood. Nevertheless, she faced sexual discrimination on a number of occasions.

According to Crow, stories have a way of moving us, of connecting us to one another. She observed that military veterans may sometimes forget their stories or never share those stories with others. Yet through writing, she said, veterans can work through emotional issues and help manage posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Currently, Crow teaches creative writing at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL.

This speaking event coincided with Saint Leo’s 2013 Alumni Weekend, in addition to being part of Saint Leo University’s 40th anniversary celebration of its educational partnership with the military.