Saints Host Panel Presentation regarding Fort Drum, Military Medical Hardships
Sept. 6: The St. Lawrence University football team was proud to host "Tribute to the Troops": Fort Drum in the Community & Health Issues Facing our Military upon Returning Home as a panel presentation on Wednesday evening in Eben Holden. The three-person panel representing Fort Drum included St. Lawrence alumnus Colonel Eric Wagenaar '83, Captain John Casas M.D., and Dr. Todd Benham.
"Because we're so close in proximity to the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, and they do a great deal for our country and community, we thought this would be a great opportunity to educate our students and our campus on the impact Fort Drum makes at the local level and the sacrifices and hardships our military men and women face every day," said head football Coach Mark Raymond.
The panel presentation was very well-attended, including many members of the Saints football squad. Col. Wagenaar, a former St. Lawrence football player, presented first on Fort Drum's impact in Northern New York, as well as the day-to-day expectations of a soldier stationed at the base. Mr. Wagenaar, who served 26 years in the Army as an infantry officer before his retirement in 2009, has earned numerous awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal.
Dr. Casas would follow with a talk on the physical demands and challenges that members of the military face, both while training for missions and while serving abroad. Dr. Casas, who returned from a year-long tour in Afghanistan in February of 2012, serves as a brigade surgeon at Fort Drum and is currently supporting the 10th Mountain Division. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Finally, Dr. Benham gave his presentation on the mental hardships facing servicemen and women, using videos to enhance his points. He explained the stigmas that continue to plague patients suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and explained many of the false impressions portrayed by the media about the disorder. Dr. Benham is one of the premier researchers on PTSD and is currently one of six Department of Defense Trainers for Cognitive Processing Therapy, one of the leading treatments.
Following the panel, a 15-minute question and answer period was held for all three presenters.
The panel presentation was sponsored by the St. Lawrence University Innovation Grants Program. The campus community and the football program would once again like to thank Col. Wagenaar, Dr. Casas and Dr. Benham for their support and outstanding presentations!
Saturday's football game between St. Lawrence and Norwich begins at 1 p.m. at Leckonby Stadium. Admission is free for those with a valid military I.D. T-shirts will be available for purchase for $15, while "Touchdowns for the Troops" will offer fans the chance to pledge any amount they choose per touchdown the Scarlet and Brown score in 2012. The Ray Ross Theme House will host a 50/50 raffle, with proceeds also being donated to "Tribute to the Troops." The first 200 fans will also receive a free St. Lawrence "spirit towel" to show their support. Information regarding jersey purchase will also be available on game day.