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New program to aid veterans through the power of literature

‘Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian’ reading and discussion series

Bronx Times
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Contrary to popular belief, reading is not just fundamental, it is also therapeutic.

‘Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian’ is a new reading and discussion series for veterans to be held inside local libraries and is sponsored by the New York Council for the Humanities.

The program’s namesake is derived from a published anthology which contains such famous literary works including Homer’s ‘Iliad’ as well as personal accounts from Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans.

Within its 44 selections are extensive works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and memoirs which strongly resonate with veterans’ past experiences, concerns, and aspirations following their service and often arduous transition back into civilian life.

‘Standing Down’ was established for Talking Service which serves the Great Books Foundation’s mission to foster reading and discussion programs intended for former service members, their families and friends as well as their service providers and caretakers.

A United States Army National Guard veteran, Jeremy Warneke proudly served his country in an Iraq tour from May 2003 until July of the following year.

After his honorable discharge, Warneke attended Sarah Lawrence College where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree.

A published writer, Warneke’s works have appeared in ‘Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors’, ‘Afterwords’, ‘The American Legion Magazine’, ‘Scintilla’, ‘Nine Lines’, ‘Bronx Times Reporter’, and ‘Seeing Here Now’ among numerous others.

“I’ve been doing writing workshops since 2009 and anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy talking about writing,” Warneke expressed.

Having always possessed a passion for reading and writing, Warneke revealed he was exposed to many different works which spoke to him as a veteran.

Ernest Hemingway’s short piece ‘Chapter VII’ which serves as a preface to his work ‘Soldier’s Home’, is cited as Warneke’s favorite.

“It’s only a paragraph long, but it really struck a chord with me,” he revealed.

Warneke is the current discussion facilitator for the series’ Morris Park chapter.

He revealed that Grace Tellez-Cardona, Morris Park senior librarian, reached out him upon discovering ‘Standing Down’ and he was glad to accept this role.

“She kept pushing it and I’m really glad that she did,” he said.

This program will be held in three Bronx locations: Morris Park Library starting Monday, March 23; Jerome Park Library on Tuesday, March, 24; and Bronx Library Center on Wednesday, March 25.

It will also be held in Manhattan’s Hamilton Grange Library on Tuesday, March 3 and Bloomingdale Library on Wednesday, April 15.

‘Standing Down’ will span six sessions beginning next month and wraps up in June.

The series will be held from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. every other week.

For further information and details, either consult www.nypl.org or visit your local branch.

The free program is open to service members from all eras and those who attend will receive a free copy of the book.

Civilians are also welcomed to attend this program.

“Programs like these are important because they enable veterans to meet one another and it gives these people a chance to speak with others who share similar experiences,” Adam Capitanio, NYCH program officer explained.

“It’s designed to help give returning veterans a space to talk about their experiences, their transitions back to civilian life as well as network with other people,” Capitanio added.

Warneke revealed that interest in the series has been growing exponentially.

“Veterans always have something unique to say,” Warneke said.

Updated 4:59 pm, July 9, 2018
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