As the nation prepares to honor those who died in service to the country, a team of former service members and civilians affiliated with the Shepherd Center are running eight consecutive half-marathons to raise awareness and funding for veterans still recovering from injury.
Tracey Jackson was a Marine with dreams of a career in medicine until she had an anaphylactic reaction that left her disabled, unable to work, and ultimately homeless. Tracey’s Moment with Atlanta nonprofit Nobis Works not only got her off the streets, it set her life on a new path of success.
Prior to her Moment, Tracey served in the United States Marine Corps, was scheduled to serve in the Gulf War and received a series of medical injections in preparation. Ultimately, she did not get shipped overseas, so she planned to go to medical school and, in anticipation of that, began studying nursing.
During her rigorous nursing classes, Tracey experienced an anaphylactic reaction that sent her into seizures. The unanticipated and severe reaction changed the rest of her life.
Between family members, the truth is a delicate thing. That’s why memoirs are popular. We like reading about people who take the risk to bear witness to their intimate lives, because most of us will never go there, especially not in public.
This weekend, two Atlanta authors of new memoirs will speak locally about risking family relationships. Lynn Garson and Christal Presley overcame major emotional hurdles to confront and understand their family dysfunction.They crossed that emotional tightrope and stayed connected to the family members despite writing critically about them. Doing so changed them into healthier adults.
Several times a day, military troops walk single file through Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, Atlanta’s crossroads with the world. As they parade through the heart of the airport – the airy atrium – travelers applaud and cheer. Here, the national spirit so often confined to July 4 is demonstrated every day.
On the mezzanine twice a month, the troops stop in for hot dogs and chili fixed by a group of Vietnam veterans from Atlanta. Along with America’s quintessential fast food, the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association (AVVBA) serves up something they wish they had enjoyed: public support.
The crossroads for both generations is the Jean R. Amos USO, which every day in Atlanta welcomes in a morning plane full of 240 troops returning home on what is know as “Operation R&R.” Later, volunteers bid farewell to 240 more somber troops returning to their overseas posts.
In a country full of yellow ribbon car magnets and other displays, the USO doesn’t stand alone. But these Atlanta Vietnam veterans recall how USO volunteers have always stood for them, and that’s why they now stand together — with frankfurters however you please.