By: JIM IRIZARRY
South Bend’s most visible veteran will visit IUSB next week.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be at the next meeting of the Veterans Book Club from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, in the Fireside Room, next to The Grill.
Buttigieg served seven months in Afghanistan as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves in 2014. He has also been working on developing work opportunities for veterans in South Bend.
“Who better to come in and participate with our student veterans than Mayor Pete?” said Vicki Bloom, IUSB’s dean of library services. Buttigieg’s deputy chief of staff Brian Pawlowski will also join the meeting.
This meeting will focus on the book “Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families.”
It is a collection edited by Andrew Carroll that shares stories, letters and experiences from members of the military and their families. Copies of the book are available for checkout at the Schurz Library.
“The Veterans Book Club is a great way to bring people together in a safe setting and a great way for people who don’t know much about military experiences to learn,” Bloom said. “There is so much to learn about veterans’ issues and needs. The transition from being a soldier to being a student is difficult, and we are always looking to make it easier for them to get integrated into student life here at IUSB.”
Bloom is hoping to use Mayor Buttigieg’s appearance as a springboard for future interest in the club. Among topics the club would like to cover include women in the military and their struggles, both in and out of the military. Bloom also hopes to help dispel some of the negative connotations that can be associated with veterans.
“Not every veteran has [post-traumatic stress disorder], but many veterans do have issues reintegrating to regular society,” Bloom said. “For the family members left behind, the kids may not remember a parent, or the dog may not remember them. We try to help veterans with those issues in the Veterans Book Club.”
If you would like to read excerpts from Operation Homecoming, visit the Veterans Book Club website at http://vetsbookclub.wordpress.com.
If you would like to attend the Veterans Book Club meeting on February 10, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.