Rita Aragon, Oklahoma’s secretary of veterans and military affairs and a retired Air Force major general, will speak at the Veterans and Military Appreciation Day program Thursday, May 24 at East Central University.
The day’s activities are free, open to the public and are come-and-go in the Bill S. Cole University Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. Workshops for veterans and their families will be conducted at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Appreciation Day program with Aragon and other presentations will begin at 11 a.m.
“There will be lots of good information for individuals in the military, past or present, and their family members,” said Mary Meeks, director of ECU’s Veterans Upward Bound program which sponsors Appreciation Day. “With the large number of National Guard members we have in this area, we would really like to reach out to the service members and their families from the 45th Infantry Brigade.”
The workshops and the Appreciation Day program will be held in the Estep Multimedia Center in the University Center. Lunch will be provided for all attendees immediately following the program that will begin at 11 a.m.
The 9 a.m. workshop, “Making the Transition,” will be conducted by Jamie Mucciarelli, program coordinator of mental health research at Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.
Mucciarelli specializes in the study of functional disability among veterans suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar illnesses. She draws on her 12 years of service in the Air Force to advocate for veterans unaware of the resources available to them and help rural veterans who live far from major medical facilities get the care they need.
As a mental health service specialist, she was deployed to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in 1996 to provide immediate mental health intervention to the survivors of the terrorist attack on Khobar Towers that killed 19 U.S. service members.