River Days candidate, Tawanna Cooper, Miss East 2017 will be hosting her community service event, “A Night Celebrating Our Veterans,” on May 26.
Cooper’s event is designed to uplift veterans afflicted with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD occurs after taking part of, or witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms include nightmares or flashbacks, avoidance of situations that bring back the trauma, heightened reactivity to stimuli, anxiety, or depressed mood.
PTSD isn’t uncommon for members of the military due to combat scenarios and other life-threatening or violent experience.
According to the Department of U.S. Veteran’s affairs, the number of Veteran’s diagnosed with PTSD varies with service era.
Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20 percent) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year. Aboit 12 of every 100 Gulf War (Desert Storm) Veterans have PTSD in a given year. About 15 out of every 100 Vietnam Veterans were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.
“PTSD is close to my heart, I have several family members who have struggled with PTSD some are war veterans and some are not. I know the battles that those affected can face,” said Cooper. “I’ve always wanted to help those who suffer from PTSD and it inspired me to want to study clinical psychology after high school.”
Cooper will be hosting a 1940s themed dance at the American Legion Post 23, 705 Court Street in downtown Portsmouth.
“The United Service Organization (USO) used to host dances for veterans to cheer them up, so it’s going to have a 1940’s World War II theme,” explained Cooper. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, we’re going to have catering provided by Backwoods Barbecue and DJ Franky Frank will be doing our music.”
Cooper says she is proud to represent East High School in the River Days competition, she is also a varsity cheerleader and a member of both the Key Club, Show Choir and the Anti-Drug program.
Tickets for the event are $20 per person or $35 per couple and are available by contacting East High School at 740-776-6777 or Tawanna Cooper at 740-250-4206. All proceeds will be donated to the local Veteran’s Affairs office. If you can not attend the event but would still like to donate, contact the above numbers for information.
To follow Cooper’s journey, you can find her Facebook page by searching “Miss East 2017 – Tawanna Cooper.” To learn more about River Days, please visit www.portsmouthriverdays.org.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.