John Bowen’s Artistry Transforms Naval Air Station Ft. Lauderdale Museum To Preserve History And Honor To Those Who Served

The Naval Air Station Ft. Lauderdale Museum will showcase the detailed artistry of well-know watercolorist, John Bowen. The Museum is open Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, with a special 4th of July picnic!  Everyone is invited! John is a key team member in the Museum’s mission to preserve our history by honoring the men and women who defended our freedom, during WWI, to Korea, and WWII.  Did you know that the infamous Flight 19 departed from here?  That US President George H.W. Bush lived at this base as an Ensign as he trained as a torpedo/bomber pilot?  Be part of the “History Project”, which collects unpublished written memoirs of personal wartime experiences, diaries, maps, drawings, photographs, and letters, that tell the veteran’s story. The Rickie Report shares the details and urges you to take a free tour!

 

 

 

NAVAL AIR STATION FORT LAUDERDALE MUSEUM
National Register of Historic Places   .   A Florida Heritage Site  .  Home of Flight 19

4000 W. Perimeter Road, Ft. Lauderdale,Florida

(954) 359-4400

HOURS: THURSDAY, SATURDAY, & SUNDAY
from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm

Free Admission / Free Tours / Pay-what-you-wish tours / Free Parking / Handicap-accessible
This is an all volunteer operation. Donations are appreciated. ​

 

SPECIAL  4TH  OF JULY  PICNIC

11:30 am to 3:30 pm

 

Outside Museum Building: A Marine Corsair and A Navy Avenger. Both planes created from concrete and painted by John Bowen, to enhance the building. Each of the planes are seven feet long.

 

“Bikes at the Art Show” Watercolor by John Bowen, took First Place Award for Watercolor Category in Veteran’s Art Exhibition.

 

John Bowen has been an artist and illustrator for more than 45 years.  He first studied commercial art at the School of Fine and Industrial Arts in Newark, New Jersey.  After two years of experience in advertising agencies, he entered the United States Air Force as an illustrator.  His duties in the Air Force included a year of documenting airlift operations in South Vietnam, and his illustrations are on display at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.  Upon establishing a residence in South Florida, John discovered the many varied landscapes of the state containing the only subtropical climate in the U.S. and the wonderful lighting that Florida’s climate affords.

 

 

John’s background as an illustrator has made him a “detail” watercolorist of the highest order.  His experience allows him to convey the mood and story of the scene through the use of dramatic lighting and vibrant color.  A detailed drawing eventually morphs into a relaxed style of painting.  Working with watercolors has always intrigued John, and the challenge and excitement of this medium has never left him.

 

Red tailed Mustang, created and painted by John Bowen honors an all Black WWIl group of U S Airmen. They flew in the European Theatre. Their main assignment during the war was to escort our bombers during their raids over the continent. They had an outstanding record of protecting the bombers. They had all their plane’s tails painted red so everyone would know who they were and when they were coming! The Memorial Garden, at the Museum, is for Lt. Colonel Gray of the “Red Tail” Squadron.

 

 

 

Photos from the Inauguration of the Zen Garden created by volunteer Veterans & Master Gardeners, in honor of Ray Rivera WWII & Korea Veteran, survivor of the Bunker Hill CV-17.  Original painting was created by artist & Vietnam Vet John Bowen.

John paints to keep Florida’s history alive.  “This is a passion with me,” says the artist.  “I believe in keeping history alive by both painting it and helping to preserve it.”  This he does by donating artwork and Giclee limited edition prints to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida charity art exhibitions of the Bonnet House, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, juried art shows for the Old Davie Schoolhouse Project, and a one-man art exhibit at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. He will continue his outdoor show schedule this Fall.

Flight 19 Memorial created and painted by John Bowen is facing the Bermuda Triangle, where the plane and its crew were lost.

John tells The Rickie Report, “Realistic expressionism is how I describe my work.  Capturing a mood, striving to tell a story, intrigued by history, landscapes and themes, these are the inspirations that create my work.  Emphasizing the play of light and shadow as seen in nature.  Describing textures of time written in historic places.  Capturing a moment of history, that sense of space.  These are the feelings I try to express in my paintings.  Each idea is carefully planned from exploration through execution.  Plein air painting, sketching, photography, using whatever means possible to achieve my vision.  Combining both opaque and transparent watercolors on heavy (300 lb) archival paper.  I work patiently, using established principles to create the final piece.  Hoping to express the beauty that inspired me”.  

 

John is a signature member with the Florida Watercolor Society, Gold Coast Watercolor Society and the Delray Art League.  He is available to do Home and Boat Portrait Commissions.  John Bowen can be reached at  954 370-2061.    jbowenartist@aol.com  or www.johnbowenwatercolorist.com

 

More about the Museum:

National Register of Historic Places.  A Florida Heritage Site.
Our mission is to develop and maintain a national and internationally recognized naval aviation museum that educates young and old alike, to preserve history by honoring the memory of Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale and the men & women who defended freedom during World War II.

 

The Museum has been instrumental in preserving the memory of Flight 19, one of the great aviation mysteries. Flight 19 flew out of NAS Fort Lauderdale on 5 December 1945, to vanish into the Bermuda Triangle. In addition, 19 year old future US President George H. W. Bush lived at this base as an Ensign, to train as a torpedo/bomber pilot.  From October 1942 to October 1946 the base would train pilots and thousands of aircrewmen from the U.S and other countries. In December 1999, the building was relocated to its permanent site at 4000 West Perimeter Rd., 2 blocks west from its original location.

 

 

On Exhibit:

  • Link Trainer Flight Simulator: historic mechanical & engineering landmark.
  • Recreated Soldier’s Barracks: The George Bush Room.
  • 25×7 naval aviation mural signed by President George H.W. Bush, John McCain, RADM Moffit, and Medal of Honor Vietnam Gary Littrell.
  • Original paintings, cartoons, lithographs, drawings, and photographs.
  • “Broward Goes To War”  Exhibit:  the war years of 1941-1945.
  • Flight 19: collection of letters, photos, artifacts, books, videos,  & displays.
  • Vintage ship & aircraft models, WWII artifacts, teaching props, flight gear, ship plaques, medals, insignia, uniforms representing all branches of the military.
  • Online-Only Exhibits: take a tour of our
  • John Payne Memorial Library: 3,000+ volumes from military history, personal memoirs, war diaries, aviator log books, veteran’s letters, cruise books, war postcard albums, magazines, and world war II newsletters.
  • Photography collection: 10,000+ images of aircraft, ships, people, naval history, technical manuals, photos of artworks, and a military video library.
  • Outdoor artifacts include WWII torpedoes from a submarine, and TBM/TBF Avenger, an anti-aircraft gun, and an anti-submarine Hedgehog.  
  • Veterans History Project: WWI & WWII collection of Veteran’s Stories.
  • Award winning Butterfly Garden with a Flight 19 memorial. 
  • Take the 360 degree Google Video tour.
  • virtual exhibits.

 

The History Project:

The Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum collects and preserves personal stories and other documents from World War II Veterans, with the purpose of building a lasting legacy of preserving history for generations to come. This History Project collects unpublished written memoirs of personal wartime experiences. We welcome diaries, collections of letters, and photographs that tell the veteran’s story.  Maps, drawings, and other documents are also welcome. We don’t have to keep your originals as the artifacts can be scanned, or photographed, and shared this way via e-mails. This project was started in 2010, with the introduction of NASFL Museum founder Allan McElhiney, who was a sailor in World War II.  This Gallery of Veterans is not in chronological order, rather it follows a date of completion by NASFL Museum curators.  If you are interested in sharing a Veteran’s story, or your family’s military history, please go to www.nasflmuseum.com

 

You can visit Museum on Thursday, Saturday, & Sunday

– Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
– Business Hours: Thursday, Saturday, & Sunday from 11:30am to 3:30pm
– Last tour is at 2:30pm (no need for reservations but it’s best to be there between 11:30 and 2pm for best timing).
– Depending on your time, and level of interest, a tour can go from 10 mins to 3 hours. It’s up to you.
– After tours, people are welcome to linger around and take photos, enjoy their time in the library, watch videos, or explore the garden areas.
– This is an all volunteer operation. For tours of more than 5 people in your party, a donation of $5 per person is appreciated (members are always free). You can also Pay-what-you-wish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

Rickie@therickiereport.com   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

How A Museum Can Lift Our Spirits And Share Common History Through Art-The Museum Of The History Of Polish Jews

The Rickie Report shares our visit to the newly opened Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, through the eyes of artist and art patrons. We went to recapture part of our heritage, before WWII, and to support the educational efforts to teach acceptance and tolerance of “the other”.  This article will focus on two main features: the role of architecture of this edifice and the highlight of the Core Exhibit itself.  While we publish on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we celebrate this visit because it is a museum of life, rich in culture, ready to be shared.

 

 

Welcome to the Museum!

 

 

 

Outside the Museum Plaza

Outside the Museum Plaza

 

The Museum of The History of the Polish Jews

 

 

The architecture of every building tells a story.  What can we learn as we visit this museum?   The Museum is situated on the ruins of a prewar Jewish neighborhood, where the Germans established the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII.  It faces the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, commemorating how Jews died.  The Museum memorializes how they lived among their Polish neighbors.

 

Museum, Outside View, Left of the Entrance

Museum, Outside View, Left of the Entrance

 

From the outside, we can see the overriding chasm coming together with an inner bridge, the undulating walls and massive panes of glass.  Like art itself, the interpretations are left to the viewer.  We overhear other guests, ” Is it the splitting of the Red Sea?”  ” Is it breaking with the past and moving toward the future?”  “Is it the chasm caused by WWII, when 90% of Polish Jews perished?”  What does it mean?  There is one, clear glass corner of the building on the first floor, where we can see colorful chairs. The bright colors hint at what we will find inside.

 

 

Etched Glass Columns

Etched Glass Columns Of the Museum Facade

 

 

Before we even enter, we notice the Latin letters “Polin” and their Hebrew counterparts, silk screened on the vertical glass and copper columns.  The word, “Polin” in Hebrew means “Rest Here”.  The Museum serves as a common meeting place for a diverse public, an opportunity to learn, discuss, and grow continued tolerance.

 

 

 

Walking Up the Ramp into The Museum

Walking Up the Ramp into The Museum (Courtesy of Museum of History of Polish Jews)

 

As we enter, we walk up the ramp toward the naturally lit interior.  The  light that fills this space is magical, as shadows dance around the smoothed, rolling walls. We are met by a Museum Intern, Iwona Oleszczuk and walk into the space.

 

Museum Interior Walls

Museum Interior Walls

 

Chief Architect, Rainer Mahlamäki says, “This place called for light; a natural radiance that would illuminate the surroundings”. The building, a postmodern structure in glass, copper, and concrete, was designed by Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma. A plaque tells us that “Since the museum presents the whole history of Jews in Poland, not only the period under German occupation, the designer wanted to avoid similarities to existing Holocaust museums which had austere concrete structures. The architects kept the museum in the colors of sand, giving it a more approachable feeling.  They won the 2008 International Architecture Award in recognition of their bold and innovative design”.

 

Rear View of Museum

Rear View of Museum (Courtesy of Museum of History of Polish Jews)

 

 

 

Children twirl to their own tunes and adults speak in soft voices. Outside, at the back of the museum through an all glass wall, we can see a large grass lawn, with people sitting and enjoying the sunshine.  From this vantage point, we can also see the top of the wooden synagogue, plain and bear wood planks meeting at the roof top.  We cannot see into the Core Exhibit, but it beckons.  This is like peeling an onion, layer by layer. We look at some explanatory signage and are anxious to see where the next step will take us.

 

 

 

Roof Beams from the Core Exhibit synagogue below

Roof Beams from the Core Exhibit Synagogue below

 

Visitors are brought into the time and place  of the story itself.  The exquisite painted ceiling and timber framed roof of the 17th century wooden Gwozdziec Synagogue is the highlight of this visit. Over 400 volunteers from all over the world recreated it over a period of 10 years at 85% scale.  They used old drawings by Alois Breir to paint the interior.  To construct and assemble the wood beams, they recreated the same tools used to build the original structure.  

 

Welcome to the Core

 

We are greeted by Curator, Eva Malkowska-Bienick, who brings us down to the Core Exhibit.  At the time, we are the only visitors because the Museum had not officially opened yet.  Walking off the elevator into the basement level of the museum, I was unprepared. We stepped into a replica of the Gwozdziec Synagogue.  I have never seen such bright colors on a synagogue ceiling, or any ceiling. I had to catch my breath!  There are zodiac symbols, depictions of animals (real and mystical) , quotations form Hebrew liturgy and images recalling the Jewish calendar. Each had been painstakingly painted on the ceiling and upper walls.  

 

 

 

Close-Up of Gwozdziec Synagogue Ceiling

Close-Up of Gwozdziec Synagogue Ceiling (Courtesy of Museum of History of Polish Jews)

 

 

The Core Exhibition is a journey through 1000 years of the history of Polish Jews – from the Middle Ages until today.  Eva explained, “The Core Exhibition is a narrative: visitors will be drawn into a story told by artifacts, paintings, interactive installations, reconstructions and models, video projections, sounds and words. Our focus is on life, therefore at each stage of the journey we strive to remain close to life by letting people speak – Jewish merchants, scholars or artists from a given era, rabbis, housewives, politicians, chroniclers and revolutionaries. We give the floor to those who perished and to those who survived.  We present 1000 years of Polish-Jewish coexistence, speak of cooperation, rivalry and conflicts, autonomy, integration and assimilation. While seeking to confront thorny issues, we also bring attention to bright chapters in our common history”.

 

 

Close-Up of G Synagogue Ceiling

Close-Up of Gwozdziec Synagogue Ceiling (Courtesy of Museum of History of Polish Jews)

 

According to the Museum website, “The Core Exhibition was developed by a team of international scholars and curators under the direction of Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. The design was created by Event Communications, a London-based company, and by Nizio Design International from Warsaw. Thanks to these teams, the Core Exhibition employs reliable methods as well as cutting-edge multimedia solutions”.

 

 

 

Synagogue Bimah (Courtesy of M. Starowieyska D. Golnik Museum of History of Polish Jews)

Synagogue Bimah (Courtesy of M. Starowieyska D. Golnik Museum of History of Polish Jews)

 

 

While many of the Eight Galleries were not ready for visitors,  we were able to interact with some of the technicians who were tweaking the final stages of one interactive module.   We asked about the general public’s reaction to this facility.  One said, ” We have a curiosity of Jews before the Holocaust and this is a place which shows commonality, not just catastrophe.”  This echoes the Musuem’s Vision Statement, “To make the Museum of the History of Polish Jews an important and innovative center of research, education and culture – a platform for social change, offering a profound, transformative experience and promoting new standards of narrating history.”

 

Synagogue

Model of Gwozdziec Synagogue

 

An explanatory sign tells us, “This model of the wooden synagogue that once stood in Gwozdziec was created in workshops organized by Handshouse Studio for the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.  The model is based on the research of Kärol Maszoswki, Alois Breier, Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka, and Thomas Hubka.  Rick and Laura Brown, directors of Handshouse Studios donated this model to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews”.

 

The Rickie Report thanks our Museum guides and the Museum website for technical information used in this article.

 

To learn more about the Museum:

 

http://www.polin.pl/en

 

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

 

Award Winning Artist, Dr. Wilma Bulkin Siegel Combines Art and Medicine with Exhibits at Whitespace Collection and Tradition of the Palm Beaches

Combining medicine with painting, Dr. Wilma Bulkin Siegel is an award-winning artist recognized nationally for her portrait series of people living with AIDS, Survivors of AIDS, Breast Cancer Survivors, The Homeless, The Elderly and most recently Returning War Veterans.  She has exhibited throughout the United Sates, been featured on CNN and been elected into Who’s Who in American Art. Her work from the series “Returning Iraqi War Veterans”, currently showing at Whitespace Collection ‘Pushing Boundaries’, includes video and actual interviews with veterans. Her portraits and biographies of “Holocaust Survivors and Liberators” is being shown at Morse Life at the Tradition of the Palm Beaches. In 2009, she was awarded the highest honor for contributions to the field of arts in Healthcare – The Janice Palmer Award of Society of Arts in Healthcare.  The Rickie Report reminds you to visit Whitespace Collection before March 22nd, when it closes for the season. Dr. Siegel’s  works are at Morse Life through April 15th.  Please note: we share a few stories at the end of the article. The * in the photograph indicates the person’s story is included here.  We hope you will take the time to read them.  We found them compelling.

 

 

 

2 EXHIBITIONS

Whitespace  Collection

 Now Through March 22nd

Dr. Wilma Bulkin Siegel

“Portraits and Conversations with Veterans Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan”

Open every Saturday & Sunday 1-4

Small group tours on Sat. and Sun with a docent

 

2805 N. Australian Avenue     W.Palm Beach, FL 33407
561.842.4131

 

 

"Roman Baca", Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel, MD

*   “Roman Baca”, Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel, MD

Dr. Siegel says, “I knew that I liked people and wanted to express the knowledge I had acquired about people as a physician. I came upon portraiture as a means of expressing the psychology of the person I was painting. As a physician and an artist I use my medical education and my art to find ways of healing people. It is my purpose in life to heal. In whatever way I can play a role, I wish to have people think about our place as individuals living amongst each other. Through my work as a doctor and a portrait artist I must address the ‘truth’ of the individual. I observe and listen to the person before me. As an artist, I paint individuals who have something to say about pertinent social issues, a kind of ‘social realism’”.

"Wilfred Bedeau" Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel, MD

  *       “Wilfred Bedeau” Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel, MD  

 

“A few years ago, I completed a series on Holocaust survivors and their World War II liberators. Many of these people were in the final stages of their lives, so it was more important than ever to capture their faces and the thoughts behind their eyes. Growing up in the late 1930s and 40s during World War II was a part of my history where the fear of the unknown was always present. Blackouts and the threat of an enemy attack were always in our thoughts. I remember the many windows where there were flags with varying stars for those service men in action or the Gold Star for those who had given their lives for our nation. There was a sense of the country coming together to fight a single enemy”.

 

 

"Dr. Heather Cereste", Portrait by Wilma BUlkin Seigel, MD

*    “Dr. Heather Cereste”, Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel, MD

 

"Alison McKenzie" Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel,MD

*“Alison McKenzie” Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel,MD

 

 

 

 

“Once again, in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I saw the flags in the windows. First was Operation Iraqi Freedom, which led to Operation Enduring Freedom. Certainly ‘enduring freedom’ is a worthy goal, but it comes at a very dear price. Once again, I turned to those who were there to help answer the question about the purpose of this war. These veterans say: “I did it because it was my duty” and “I’m serving my country and my people”. 

 

"Juan Fernandez" Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel, MD

“Juan Fernandez” Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel, MD

 

“It is a conversation that I want to share with you so that we all,together, can better understand what the defenders of our country have gone through. We all need to see, hear and be part of their healing. This project was by far one of the most difficult, having them share their message”. 

whitespaceDSC_0873 (2)

“Emery Everhart” Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Siegel, MD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Jake Milkovic" Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel, MD

*“Jake Milkovich” Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel, MD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Currently my focus in art has been to bring Art-in-Medicine programs into the mainstream. I have been responsible for starting a medical school course to bring artists and medical students together to help the student have better visual acuity. I have a passion to start “Artists-in-residency” programs in the de-humanized medical settings to help in healing. I have made a motto for myself in art, which I call the three C’s-Communication,Compassion, and Creativity.”

 

 

morselife_logo.png

 

Art Exhibit at Morse Life Health System:

“Survivors and Liberators: Portraits”

by
Wilma Bulkin Siegel,MD

 

The Tradition of the Palm Beaches

Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

10:30 am – 1:00 pm or by invitation until April 15 or by calling: 561.242.4661

4920 Loring Drive     West Palm Beach

 Marilyn & Stanley M. Katz Seniors Campus of MorseLife Health System

Exhibit runs through April 15th

 

The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the Holocaust in Europe. It is also a time to recognize the men, women and children among those who perished, and survivors of the Holocaust, their families and their liberators. Dr. Wilma Siegel’s very touching exhibition “Survivors and Liberators”, to be on display at Morse Life’s The Tradition of the Palm Beaches from until April 15th, does just that, focusing on survivors, liberators and children of the Holocaust. The exhibit, which Siegel hopes will “instill strength of spirit through portraits and narratives,” exhibits grand-scale watercolors featuring bold but personal portraits of subjects the artist interviewed and painted in their own homes beginning in 2003.

 

"Abe Morgenstern" by Wilma Bulkin Siegel,MD

“Abe Morgenstern” Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Siegel,MD

 

 

Dr. Siegel incorporates photographs and other mementos belonging to the subjects in their portraits, representing a casual intimacy while also serving as a record of life. A program book provides a short biography of each subject, retracing their route from Europe’s concentration camps to life in the U.S. With each narrative, the viewer has a chance to develop a deeper connection with the lives represented in each portrait.

 

"Regina Niven" by Wilma Bulkin Siegel MD

“Regina Niven” Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Siegel MD

 

 

Keith A. Myers, President/CEO of MorseLife Health System, noted the organization is honored to sponsor and bring these extraordinary portraits of survivors and liberators of the Holocaust by Wilma Bulkin Siegel, M.D. “Survivors and Liberators presents us all with not merely portraits, but sobering and haunting stories behind beautiful faces,” he said. “The stories are hard to forget. And we should never forget. As an organization serving the health care, housing and supportive needs of seniors of our community, we are touched daily by the strength and perseverance that we see in them today,” Myers noted. “Some of the seniors we have served and serve today are survivors themselves. We dedicate this exhibit to them, the seniors we care for.”

 

"Morris Freibaum" by Wilma

“Morris Freibaum” Portrait by Wilma Bulkin Seigel, MD

 

For more information about Wilma Bulkin Seigel’s extraordinary and important views, please visit: http://wilmabulkinsiegel.com

Dr. Seigel wishes to thank the following organizations that helped her find the courageous people she portrays and shares with us: “SE FL. Chapter of the Red Cross, The Jewish Federation (Broward County), Ft. Lauderdale Vet Center of Dept. of Veteran Affairs, NYU Langone Medical Center, NOVA Southeastern University, Weill/Cornell Medical Center, Phillip Collins, David Spangler, Chris Coyne and Bill Kanatas of Pathways America, Neli and Brian Rowland of A Safe Haven shelters in Chicago, Richard Finkelstein, and Irvin Lippman”.

 

For more information about Whitespace Collection please contact:

Elayne Mordes, ASID AAA

Whitespace Art Adventures

2805 N. Australian Avenue  West Palm Beach, Florida 33407
T:561.842.4131   F:561.842.4132    E: 2805@mordes.net
www.whitespacecollection.com

 

 

For more information about the exhibit, “Survivors and Liberators” on the MorseLife Health System campus, call (561) 209-6103.

 

 

Lives Beyond the Portraits

 

ROMAN BACA was at Walter Reed Medical Center at a conference about the healing arts for Returning Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a Marine/ballet choreographer and director of Exit 12 Dance Company of NYC. The piece he choreographed was his experience of the ethnicity of Americans and Iraqi, the war and was descriptive of war, but in the end they joined together in peace. His experience as a dancer was imbedded, but he had a desire to conquer his fears and entered the Marines. The Marines taught him to redirect his fears and use the adrenalin rush to survive, “using the fear to keep going”. He was deployed in 2005-2006 in Iraq. He subsequently had great PTSD and relies on his wife who is the only one who can help him understand it. Unable to focus on what to do with his life, he  formed the troupe whose purpose is to use the art of dance as a communicator. He returned with the troupe to Iraq, meeting with diverse ethnic groups (Kurds and Arabs) and then helped them all to interact through dance (even between men and women). The two groups performed bringing the different families together in the audience and in the end the audience and performers as a group. They picked flowers as a ‘thank you offering’ to the troupe for having given them a better understanding of each other. His statement is that art is the better way to conquer than violence through weapons of destruction. He hopes that his company will have a national tour. He states: “Art gives veterans this vehicle to communicate their experiences in an abstract way, where they’re not being sensationalist or overly shocking”.

 

 

 

WILFRED BEDEAU  served in combat in Iraq with Desert Storm for eight months in 1990-91 after enlisting for six years in the Army. He continued in the reserves and does casualty assistance. He did not immediately recognize his own need for counseling following Desert Storm. Suffering from PTSD, he went to the Department of Veterans Affairs of Broward County and now goes weekly for counseling, which helps in his work of talking with the families of suicide casualties. Wilfred is a very mature and wise 46 year old who now has two sons, a 17 year-old and a 24 year-old to whom he has taught “suicide is not an option”. 

 

 

DR. HEATHER CERESTE was at a book signing and mentioned that she was taking the MS program of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, with which I’m involved. I invited her to be part of the series. It took a year until I was able to paint her since she was ill from a condition of Hypothyroidism, which brought on her PTSD profoundly. She could’t focus in her work as a physician. She questions why she developed this after her deployment in Iraq on the front lines in the hospital setting, in which she was thrust into immediate trauma surgery and care of the injured. The hospital had severe air pollution because of ‘burning pits’ where they burned all the detritus including machines and refrigerators, etc. After 9/11 she wanted to make a difference and joined the Air Force. Her specialty as an internist, was geriatrics and palliative care, and ethics became her main expertise. She joined in 2004, deployed in 2006 and it took 4 years for the PTSD to set in profoundly while employed at Cornell campus Medical School. She still has her credentials but can’t work and is considering changing her focus to writing. She describes an episode when she was in group therapy for PTSD and expressed all her feelings which she did not think was so courageous, but all the men that she was with came up to her to thank her for expressing so well all that they were going through but were unable to address. She is applying to Wounded Warriors to help direct her in perhaps a counseling job.

 

 

 

COLONEL JUAN FERNANDEZ suffers from Keratoconus of his eyes which labels him blind. He had corneal transplant surgery without benefit. He found a physician who gave him prosthetic lenses, correcting his vision immediately by reshaping the cornea. He works for the Red Cross as a volunteer to help homeless vets. He is of Cuban descent, raised by grandmother in California. He served 2003-4 to combat tour in Afghanistan. He noted his disability in 2008 when he could not see gun firing and retired in 2008. He now helps in ROTC for recruiting.. He says he suffers from PTSD often thinking of the ‘body bags’. He states “Freedom isn’t free because someone has died for it”. The Red Cross is planning Transition Reintegration Program and he advises the warriors that “It is o.k. to need help!”

 

 

TREESE KIMMONS is 28 and entered the army after high school. She was deployed twice 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 to Iraq. She never wanted to be a ‘weekend warrior’ but wanted to ‘do it all’. Her job was in the supply and armor unit. She was shot at the first day and realized the reality of where she was. She experienced nine deaths. Upon discharge, she couldn’t cope with adult life and not being told what to do. She is going to school for Forensics and Criminal Analysis but has experienced severe PTSD for which she is in therapy. I met her at A Safe Haven Foundation, a homeless shelter in Chicago. In the background I have put a photo of her cherished dog tag.

 

 

ALISON MCKENZIE  has been a nurse for 27 years and in the military for past 20 years. She is now a Major in the Army and works as a nurse manager of surgical intensive care unit at New York University Medical Center. She was deployed as head nurse to Abu Ghraib after the scandal that occurred there. The flag of Abu Ghraib is in the background of her portrait. Because of the scandal, she had to be specially trained to protect her patients including the terrorist enemies. She contended with the negative reactions of United States Military personnel and their anger about her caring for the enemy. She describes the fears she had when she accompanied a critically ill soldier by helicopter at dusk to the green zone. The helicopter was always a target for the enemy, and there could not be any light to watch the IV or to take blood pressure. The helicopter pilot understood her anxiety and found a special light that could not be seen from the ground. It saved her patient’s life and most likely her own. This 24-7  “paranoid keeping track” has taken its toll on Alison who gets counseling for PTSD. 

 

JAKE MILKOVICH  is 23 years old and he grew up “playing army”. His father gave him the movie “Top Gun” when he was 7 years old and he dreamed that he too would fly jets and be a fighter pilot. At 17 he wanted to be the “best of the best” so he joined the Marines. Once at Paris Island, it was a great shock but he always wanted to achieve. He became a squad leader and then was chosen to infantry school, learning basic security and was picked to serve at Camp David to be part of security for President Obama. His leadership led him to be deployed as platoon leader in Afghanistan in April 2011. He observed many casualties with many amputees. He is spiritual and learned of death early while there, when a mentor of his was killed in the shower by a grenade. His mentor said, “When it is your time – it is your time to go”. He was deployed for 7 months. He learned the respect for life here where we can breathe free. He has PTSD and believes it helps to keep in touch with his buddies. He is studying to get his college degree at NOVA Southeastern University with his significant other Kelsey, who is a martial arts instructor for the Marines. They are creating NOVA Students Veterans Association because Florida will have a large population of returning veterans and they are planning a major function throughout the campus for Veteran’s Day. 

 

 

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

Meet Author and Watercolorist John Bowen at Star Spangled Heroes Exhibit

The Exhibition, “Star Spangled Heroes” has many component and programs associated with it. Saluting the 100,000 plus Veterans residing in Palm Beach County and the US Military, it is presented by the West Palm Beach Library Foundation at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach.  Artist, John Bowen, will be the featured speaker and presenter on Thursday, October 16th.  The Exhibit takes places from October 11 to December 7, 2014 on the 4th Floor of the Library.  The Rickie Report urges everyone to make the time to see this exhibit and participate in the many events being offered. Details are here.

 

 

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Programs

 

Meet John Bowen, Veteran, illustrator,nationally known author and watercolorist

Thursday, October 16th 5:30 to 7:00pm
Clematis Room
Presentation by John Bowen, who as an illustrator in the Air Force in Vietnam compiled his drawings and experiences for his book “Eleven Months and Nineteen Days”, which was awarded a Silver Medal from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association’s Annual Competition in the Autobiography/Memoir Category. John’s watercolors of Florida scenes are favorites at Vizcaya in Miami and he has been traveling around the state presenting watercolor demonstrations.

 

 

Film – “Taking Chance”
Friday, October 17th 5:30 to 7:30pm
Auditorium
Historic drama based on the experiences of Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl as he escorted the body of a fallen young Marine, Chance Phelps, back to his hometown in Wyoming from Iraq, starring Kevin Bacon.  Discussion of the movie will take place after the film.

 

 

Kids Program on Veterans
Sunday, October 19th 2:00 to 4:00pm
Hibiscus Room
Kids will be writing letters enclosed with stars from U.S. flags, to senior veterans in long term care facilities.  The kids will also sing patriotic songs and read children’s literature about soldiers and deployment. Arts, Crafts and Snacks. Led by Eileen Shapiro.

 

Remarkable Lives – Women in the Military
Friday, October 24th 5:30 to 7:30pm
Auditorium light refreshments provided
Hear about the lives of a panel of incredible women sharing their experiences in the Military and as Veterans.
Panel:
Morgan Albano (Marine)
Maxine Elizabeth Bodman (Navy)
Mary Jane Houlahan (Marine)
Kim Lindahl (Army)
Florence Elion Mascot (Air Force)
Norma Tovar (Army)
Eileen Watson (Army)
Charlotte Rebillard (Air Force)
Amber Butyn emcee

 

 

Meet Ralph Morse – WWII Photographer
Sunday, October 26th 2:30 to 4:00pm
Auditorium
Meet Ralph Morse, who when he was first hired by LIFE magazine was the magazine’s youngest war correspondent sent to photograph World War II. His pictures documented the war’s Pacific and European theatres and post-war reconstruction of Europe. Morse was the only civilian photographer at the signing of the surrender by the Germans to General Dwight Eisenhower. His photography will be on display from 1:30 to 5pm.

 

 

Meet The Vets
Sunday, November 2nd 1:00 to 4:30pm
3rd Floor Pre-Reception Gallery
One-on-one and small group discussions with US veterans from World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Iraq and other periods since the 1940’s. Former Marine Glenn Mize will present an outstanding collection of memorabilia representing all branches of the service.

 

 

Perils in Paradise – Palm Beach County and WWII
Tuesday, November 4th 6:00 to 7:30pm
Clematis Room
Hear about Palm Beach County’s fascinating involvement and response to World War II with a series of 1940’s photographs, presented by Tony Marconi, Curator of Education at the Historical Society of Palm Beach County.
Film -” The Men”
Thursday, November 6th 2:00 to 4:00pm
Auditorium
In his film debut, Marlon Brando plays a WWII lieutenant who was seriously injured in battle and must adjust to the world without the use of his limbs. Discussion of the movie will take place after the film.

 

 

PTSD/PTSS and Our Veterans
Lunch and Learn Panel Presentation
Tuesday, November 18th 12:00 to 1:30pm
Auditorium
Understanding PTSD/PTSS from the perspective of those who help and those who suffer from it.
Bring your own lunch. Beverages and dessert will be provided.
RSVP to 561-868-7715.

 

Panel
Elizabeth Borsage, PhD – Psychologist, VA Medical Center, West Palm Beach
Major Raul Diaz, PhD – Supervisory Clinical Psychologist, Team Leader, Palm Beach Vet Center, Greenacres
Elaine Rotenberg, PhD – Clinical Director, Alpert Jewish Family & Children’s Service, West Palm Beach
Lisa Bergeron – Marine from 2004-2008 – diagnosed with PTSD
Ray Nazareth – Navy from 1979-1982 – diagnosed with PTSD

 

Film – Service: “When Women Come Marching Home”
Sunday, November 23rd 1:30 to 3:30pm
Auditorium
Documentary portraying the courage of several women veterans as they transition from active duty to their civilian lives. Through compelling portraits we see the horrific traumas these women faced, their invisible as well as physical injuries and all their challenges receiving benefits and care. Discussion will take place after the film.

 

Second ANNUAL Countywide High School Essay Contest on
“The Draft” or “U.S. Response to Our Veterans”

 

Winning Students and Their Teachers Receive Cash Awards
Submission Deadline: December 1, 2014
For information on the submission format and criteria go to www.wbplf.org/ssh or call 561 – 822 – 9972.  Underwritten by Alexander “Sandy” Myers

 

Sponsors to Date

*The Palm Beach Post*
*Sandy and Stanley Trockman*
*Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, PA*
*Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC*
*Alexander “Sandy” Myers*
*William K. Caler, Jr.*
*Dorothy and Ric Bradshaw*
*Florida Power & Light*
*Wells Fargo, NA*
*Diane Peterson McNeal*
*South Florida Neurology Associates*

Special Thanks

Sherriff Ric and Dorothy Bradshaw – Honorary Chairs
Lesley Hogan and Fred Storch – Co-Event Chairs
Mark Haworth Photography – Molly Tischler
Mark Cohen – Laura Cunningham – George Fisher
Ellie Hart – Madison Harr – David Knapp
Carolyn Ledewitz – Glenn Mize – Bob Morse
Maxwell Nelson – Charlotte Rebillard – Andy Reese
Greg Rydman – Jan Stein – Morley Wiener
Event Host Committee Members
Speakers and Panelists
Board of the WPBLF
Rickie and Jeff Leiter – The Rickie Report
Florida Commission on Women
Historical Society of Palm Beach County
The Vet Center in Greenacres
Vinny Ribolitta from Digital Graphics
Donors of Memorabilia
Amber Butyn – Rebecca Weiss
Chris Murray – Lisa Hathaway
Staff of the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach

Organizations Supporting Star Spangled Heroes

*ADRC – Your Aging and Disability Resource Center*
*Alpert Jewish Family and Children’s Service*
*Battle of the Bulge Veterans*
*The Children’s Coalition Inc.*
*Coalition for Independent Living Options, Inc.*
*Combat Infantry Association*
*Department of Corrections*
*Dial 2-1-1-Veterans/Family Services & Crisis Intervention*
*Disabled American Veterans South PBC Chapter 152*
*Faith*Hope*Love*Charity*
*Friends of the Mandel Public Library of WPB*
*Historical Society of PBC*
*Jewish War Veterans Post 440*
*Korean War Veterans Chapter 17*
*Military Officers Assoc. of America-FL Council of Chapters*
*Operation Homefront*
*PBC Veterans Committee*
*PBC Democratic Veterans Caucus Foundation*
*PBC Division of Human and Veterans Services*
*PBC Veterans Court*
*POW/MIA Committee State of FL of Disabled American Vets*
*Republican Party-PBC Vets & Military Families Committee*
*Salvation Army*
*School District of Palm Beach County*
*South Florida National Cemetery*
*Southeast Florida Honor Flight*
*Stand Down*
*Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 25*
*Women Veterans of South Florida*

Elected Officials Supporting Star Spangled Heroes

West Palm Beach
Mayor Jeri Muoio
Commissioner Keith James
Commissioner Shanon Materio
Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell
Commissioner Sylvia Moffett
Commissioner Isaac Robinson Jr.

Palm Beach County
Commissioner Steve Abrams
Vice Mayor Paulette Burdick
Mayor Priscilla Taylor
Commissioner Hal Valeche
Commissioner Shelley Vana
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw
Clerk & Comptroller Sharon Bock
Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher
Public Defender Carey Haughwout
Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits
Constitutional Tax Collector Anne Gannon
Town of Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio

Florida
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater
State Attorney David Aronberg
Senator Jeff Clemens
Senator Maria Sachs
Representative Joseph Abruzzo
Representative Lori Berman
Representative Bill Hager
Representative Mark Pafford
Representative Bobby Powell
Representative Patrick Rooney, Jr.
Representative Irving “Irv” Slosberg

National
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Marco Rubio
Congressman Ted Deutch
Congresswoman Lois Frankel
Congressman Alcee Hastings
Congressman Patrick Murphy
Congressman Tom Rooney

 

West Palm Beach Library Foundation 411 Clematis Street, 3rd Floor West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone (561) 868-7715 E-mail wpblf@mycitylibrary.org

 

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291