Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Movie Features Female Veterans

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Movie Features Female Veterans

Article excerpt

Ivonne Daly wanted to serve her country when she joined the Army. As a trauma surgeon, she certainly had skills that would be well used, and it was a noble thing to do.

What she never considered was what serving in a combat zone would do to her.

"You don't think about how this is going to affect you," said Dr. Daly, 46, of Shadyside. "You don't think about how it is going to affect your family."

She is one of eight women featured in an upcoming documentary being produced by Richland resident Julie Hera DeStefano, who got the idea after watching a segment of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2009 about a female veteran.

"No one was looking at what the war was doing to women - and serving in the combat zone was definitely different for women," Ms. DeStefano said.

In fall 2010, Ms. DeStefano was in Afghanistan filming women serving in combat zones. She has worked with Lt. Col. Thomas Stokes of Shaler, a behavioral health specialist in the Army.

"He is helping us develop a training program and other resources," Ms. DeStefano said. Col. Stokes has created a seven- week training program and curriculum for use in health care and mental health.

"What I first envisioned, what it began as and what it has become are three different things," Ms. DeStefano said.

In addition to the documentary and the mental health care resources, The Journey Home, now a nonprofit organization, plans to offer additional services and resources for veterans and the community.

"What we have learned in telling this story is that if we can connect the civilian population with the military population, we can help them when they return home," Ms. DeStefano said.

On Monday evening, a short version of the film, "Journey to Normal," was previewed at a fundraising event hosted by Dawn Rucker and Theodora Polamalu, both Pine residents.

Ms. Rucker, a West Point graduate and business consultant met Ms. …

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