Under the Hood welcomes Kyle Wesolowski as the new manager. After several years of devoted service to Under the Hood, Cindy Thomas recently stepped down as manager so that she could be closer to her family. Cindy remains an important part of the UTH family and the soldiers, veterans, volunteers, and board members will never be able to thank her enough for everything that she has done. Jim Turpin, a longtime volunteer with UTH had this to say when he heard the news: “Cindy has made such a difference in so many people’s lives, there are really too many of them to count. Some of these young men and women are alive, happy, and healthy today because of her selfless work.”
With Kyle Wesolowski’s recent release from the military, this is a great opportunity for him to provide some of the same kind of support to soldiers that he received when working to be acknowledged as a Conscientious Objector. With Kyle as the new manager, Malachi Muncy working on a 12 week internship, and support from IVAW staff working in Killeen on Operation Recovery, this is an exciting time for Under the Hood.
Check out some of the things that have been going on this month at UTH.
Operation Recovery campaign requests a meeting with the new General at Fort Hood: In late April, Lt. General Donald Campbell, Jr. took command of the Army’s Third Corps and Fort Hood, the largest and most deployed military installation in the United States. On General Campbell’s first week at work, IVAW, in coordination with Under the Hood staff, sent him a letter requesting he meet with representatives of the Operation Recovery Campaign about the ongoing mental health epidemic raging at Fort Hood. Since then, Operation Recovery members have gotten no response from the General’s office.
Fort Hood Commander is put on watch: After receiving no response from the new Commander, Operation Recovery members attempted to meet with him on base on May 25th. After being escorted off of the base, members built a watchtower as a symbolic act to let the General know that his actions in reference to the health and well-being of soldiers at Fort Hood are on watch.
Grill the General Barbecue and fundraiser held on Memorial Day: A fundraiser and barbecue was held at Under the Hood on Monday, May 31st. Soldiers, veterans, and civilians all came together to discuss work being done in Killeen and enjoyed a great meal together. Funds raised at the barbecue will go to support the continued work being done to support soldiers in need.
Under the Hood and IVAW members talk about Operation Recovery on Rag Radio: On June 10th, Thorne Dreyer interviewed Aaron Hughes, Malachi Muncy, Scott Kimball and Sergio K about Operation Recovery, their personal experiences, and their work to stop the abuse of traumatized soldiers. Listen to the podcast here.
Here is a way that YOU can help a soldier in need. PFC Ryan Reed recently received a 10 month sentence at a court-martial at Fort Hood, Texas.
His crime? – He put his family first.
PFC Reed tried to get help from his chain of command when his wife suffered from serious health issues after the birth of their first child, but his requests were repeatedly denied. In fact he was told by some of his NCOs that he should give up his child to either his parents (or the state), so that he could legally abandon his family and deploy with his unit.
PFC Reed left the unit for six months. Upon return he was told that his family would still get no help (he was even forbidden to talk to the chaplain about his problems) and that he must deploy. This time he fled again, taking his family to Canada where he believed he would be safe from prosecution and his wife could get the care that she needed.
In October 2010, PFC Reed made the difficult decision to voluntarily return to the United States. Upon return he was arrested and then escorted back to Fort Hood, Texas.
At trial PFC Reed plead guilty to one count of AWOL and one count of desertion. He then presented a strong case showing (1) his serious family hardship, (2) his old unit’s failure to help him, (3) his positive service history upon return to military control, (4) his high rehabilitation potential, and (5) the difficulty his family will experience if he is given jail time. PFC Reed asked the judge to give him a BCD (bad conduct discharge) in lieu of jail time, but he was instead given a 10 month sentence (coupled with the BCD, loss of pay and loss of rank).
The good news is that this fight is not over. PFC Reed has a right under MCM 1105 to submit written matters in mitigation to the convening authority (Lt. General Donald Campbell, Jr., CG of Fort Hood). We are asking members of the public to write letters of support asking the general to suspend part or all of the 10 month sentence.
Details will be posted soon on what these letters should say and how they can be submitted. In the meantime, please “like” our page on Facebook ( Free PFC Ryan Reed campaign) to show your support for PFC Reed.
This Memorial Day, we remember three fearless activists for peace.
Nick Travis III, 55, passed away suddenly early Monday morning, May 24, 2010 in Austin. Nick, a long-time peace activist, was known to show up at Under the Hood with his guitar and infectious smile. People couldn’t help but be a little happier with Nick around.
Lisa Morris, 28, passed away unexpectedly the next day, May 25, 2010, in Copperas Cove. Lisa, a regular at Under the Hood, always made sure to stand in protest with fellow soldiers, veterans and family members at the gates of Fort Hood. She left behind many friends.
Then on January 30, 2011, Nel LeBar passed away, surrounded by her family after losing a battle with cancer. In the words of Nel’s granddaughter: ”Nel lived a life of grace and love. Her absence will leave no small hole for those who called her friend, which includes her family. Those who knew her were changed by her, and those who met her were inspired. Her legacy will live on in the memories and hearts that carry her spirit always. She didn’t waste one moment here on Earth and demonstrated love in everything that she did. Her gentle soul that longed for peace has finally found it.”
Although we miss Nick, Lisa and Nel more than words can say, we continue to work for peace in their memory.
Your continued support of Under the Hood allows us to continue our important work in Killeen. Whether you are making a one-time donation or want to sign up as a sustainer, it’s easy to contribute through PayPal.
The Fort Hood Support Network (FHSN) operates Under the Hood Café and Outreach Center. FHSN is a Texas non-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Donations may be treated as tax-deductible.
Interested in sharing some of your time and talents with Under the Hood? We are always happy for support in any form. Along with monetary support to keep our doors open, we can always use other forms of assistance. If you believe that you can provide support in some way, please feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to put you to work!
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