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The stories of Women in the Armed Forces are the focus of a special Veterans Day presentation at SteelStacks Nov. 11 as the community comes together to honor our nation’s veterans, as well as hear about some of the unique challenges and issues that women veterans face. The 2018 event, “Women Veterans: Reflections of their time in the Armed Forces,” features first-hand accounts of veterans’ experiences while protecting and serving our nation, as well as a screening of the feature film “Blood Stripe.”
The event, which is free to attend, takes place at the ArtsQuest Center, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, starting at 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in attending can reserve tickets in advance at www.steelstacks.org or by calling the ArtsQuest Center Box Office at 610-332-3378 (there is a $1 service fee per ticket).
This year’s special guests are Jenny Pacanowski, U.S. Army, who served in Iraq; Cheryl G. Ites, U.S. Marine Corps, who served in Iraq; and Corinna Louise Brown, U.S. Army. Discover the untold stories of women serving in the Armed Forces and the unique challenges they face returning to civilian life, as moderator Tammy Barlet, U.S. Coast Guard, leads them in discussion.
The event will also include a screening of the 2016 film “Blood Stripe.” Co-written by and starring actress Kate Nowlin of “Young Adult,” the film tells the story of a Marine referred to only as “Sarge” as she returns home after completing her third tour in Afghanistan. From battling the hidden wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the troubling realities of a strained V.A. hospital, the film “deals honestly and authentically with a female combat veteran's return home,” according to the L.A. Times.
During the screening, ArtsQuest will collect donations for Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving, a local nonprofit organization that aims to guide women veterans to reconnect with their mind, body, soul and passion for life through creativity, compassion and comradery in a non-judgmental space.
SteelStacks’ Veterans Day is presented by Embassy Bank and Phoebe Ministries and made possible through a partnership between Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving, Lehigh University Veterans Association and ArtsQuest.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Jenny Pacanowski, of Bethlehem, is a poet, combat veteran, facilitator, public speaker, actor and curator. In the Army while deployed to Iraq (OIF), Pacanowski was a combat medic and provided medical support for convoys with the Marines, Air Force and the Army. She also did shifts in the Navy medical hospital. In Germany, she was part of a medical evacuation company.
Pacanowski is the associate director of Impact Theatre: The Veterans project which is currently collaborating with the One Fight Foundation on Combat Conversations: Families Affected by War. In addition to her collaborations with ArtsQuest, Haverford College, NYU, CUNY, Ithaca College, Syracuse University, Poetic Theater Productions, Aquila Theatre and The Military Resilience Project among others, Pacanowski is the founder and director of Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving, which is held at Camel’s Hump Farm in Bethlehem. You can read about her multiple projects in The Washington Post and New York Times. As a veteran herself, her goal is to facilitate and collaborate with reintegration programs that contribute to lowering the suicide, homelessness and addiction epidemics that plague our veterans.
Cheryl G. Ites
Cheryl G. Ites, of Easton, retired from Federal Service on June 1, 2018. Her last position was as a Program Analyst, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, where she represented the Department on interagency committees and working groups. Prior to her position at the Pentagon, she served as an Operations Officer at the Joint Mortuary Affairs Center at Ft. Lee, where she was responsible for doctrine development. Ites made multiple trips to Afghanistan, Iraq and Germany to advise units on mortuary issues. During her 35 years – Active and Reserve - in the United States Marine Corps, CWO-4 Ites served three tours in Iraq as the I Marine Expeditionary Force Services Officer and oversaw the Mortuary Affairs Units. These units were responsible for the battlefield recovery, respectful processing and transport of combat fatalities to include US and Allied forces as well as local nationals.
Corinna Louise Brown
Corinna Louise Brown, of Topton, is a US Army veteran who deployed to South Korea. A mother, partner, homemaker, chef and self-proclaimed poet, she is also the co-facilitator for Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving. As an advocate for veterans, she shares compassion and brings to light her survival and continuing recovery from military sexual trauma, PTSD and addiction.
After graduating Hamburg Area High School, Tammy Barlet, of Hamburg, served more than eight years in the US Coast Guard. To continue her mission to help others, Barlet began a master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Policy from George Washington University. While a member of countless veteran’s service organizations, Barlet is supported and loved by her family and friends, who she finds time with her busy schedule to go hiking, kayaking and even geocaching.