Award-Winning Documentary Features Survival Stories of Houston WWII Prisoners of War
* A special showing of the documentary, “Resilience to Trauma,” will take place on Thursday, April 24, 2008 at noon in the 4th Floor Auditorium at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, 2002 Holcombe Blvd.
HOUSTON – A documentary film featuring the true stories of several World War II prisoners of war, who receive care at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC), has won two bronze awards in the 29th Annual Telly Award competition.
The 56-minute film, “Resilience to Trauma,” focuses on a group of men who have endured unspeakable trauma and still successfully navigated life. Their stories are intended to help other victims of trauma learn how to thrive despite their experiences. These men have seen the worst humanity has to offer and have struggled with the effects of those events. While they all happen to be former prisoners of war from World War II, they believe their experiences apply to all combat veterans. They are remarkably candid about themselves, the traumas they have lived through, and the lives they have led.
“These veterans deserve and have earned our respect, our thanks, and our gratitude. This film is really about veterans helping other veterans. The hope is that another veteran from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, or the current conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan will be touched and begin to live differently. The ultimate goal is that these veterans’ journeys, and their resilience, will echo down the generations of returning warriors,” said Wright Williams, M.D., a Trauma Recovery Program psychologist at the MEDVAMC who developed the concept for the documentary and obtained an education grant from the VA South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) to fund the project.
One veteran who shares his story in the documentary is John Gutierrez. A 19-year-old, Army Air Corps gunner, Gutierrez’ Flying Fortress, a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft, was shot down over Kassel, Germany on July 28, 1943. After almost two years imprisonment of which 20 months were spent in the infamous Stalag XVIIB, he was one of more than 4,000 prisoners of war forced to endure an 18-day, 281-mile march through rugged, freezing Austrian terrain when the Germans fled the approach of Russian forces. On May 7, 1945, he was liberated by Patton’s Third Army. Gutierrez will be the keynote speaker at the MEDVAMC’s American Ex-POW Program honoring our nation’s former prisoners of war on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 10 a.m. in the 4th Floor Auditorium.
The MEDVAMC offers full interdisciplinary, mental health assessments of all patients and provides on-site, in-patient treatment as needed, medication management, individual and group therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder education groups, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse dual diagnosis groups, an intensive day hospital program, a sexual trauma track, a trauma recovery program, applied research such as medication trial and psychotherapy, specialized smoking cessation program, alumni peer support groups, and coordination and formal consultation with the Houston Vet Centers.
Founded in 1978, the Telly Awards is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions. The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world. The Telly Awards is a widely known and highly respected national and international competition and receives over 14,000 entries annually from all 50 states and many foreign countries.
To obtain a DVD copy of “Resilience to Trauma,” send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Limited quantities are available.
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