Wellness center honors veterans

Glendale News Press

GLENDALE β€” A well-preserved black-and-white photograph of Maj. Arthur Lynch was delicately pinned Saturday on a cloth wall created in honor of war veterans.

Kathy Lynch decorated her father's photograph with his World War II and Korean War badges for Saturday's inaugural Veterans' Memorial Program at Wellness Works, a holistic medicine center. The center provides free therapy services to active-duty service members, veterans and their family, who are stressed and suffering.

"He was a great dad, but I didn't know him . . . and I didn't realize how much he was suffering," said Kathy Lynch, the center's director. "Nobody helped people from World War I and World War II, even the Korean War, with the post-traumatic stress and the reentry to society."

After talking to other war veteran families and learning from their experiences, Kathy Lynch has grown to better understand her father's behavior.

Arthur Lynch's photograph was one of more than a dozen pictures of deceased war veterans pinned on the Wall of Remembrance at the center.

"By my honoring this, I feel a great healing has taken place," Kathy Lynch said.

Along with posting photographs, friends and families wrote their loved ones' names on pieces of paper that were going to be taken Sunday to the Arlington West in Santa Monica.

Those in attendance were given the floor to talk about their loved ones and experiences with war.

"What we know is that many veterans, while they physically return, never really achieve the sense of being home," said Mary Lu Coughlin, the center's board president.

Many returning war veterans run into challenges when asked to recall battle stories because of the trauma they suffered, she said.

"The reality of war causes great suffering," Coughlin said.

Having friends and families share their experiences at the center's ceremony helped them honor the memories of their loved ones, Kathy Lynch said.

"We have learned that family members have wonderful stories of their loved ones, and sharing them helps them bring closure too," she said.

Tracey Harris, a former staff sergeant in the Army, recalled a TV news story about a World War II veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart more than 50 years after being injured on the battlefield.

"He was just so excited about it," she said.

She wrote him a letter, thanking him for his service and congratulating him for being awarded the Purple Heart.

"He actually wrote me back," Harris said.

In his letter, the veteran thanked Harris for her interest and welcomed her to meet his family.

After Harris responded to his letter, she got a note from his family, who said he had died from cancer.

"I never really got to meet him, but I did get to meet him through his family," Harris said.

Harris also honored four fellow veterans, including an Iraqi war captain who committed suicide after returning home.

At the end of the ceremony, friends and families called out names of deceased veterans.

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