Want To Celebrate Veterans This Weekend? Note Their Needs, But Know Many Return Ready To Thrive

Nov 9, 2018


Americans have been celebrating the service and sacrifices made by their fellow countrymen and women in every military conflict since the end of World War I.

A panel of local veterans and advocates say the centennial of Armistice Day, now known as Veterans Day, should recognize the physical, mental and emotional needs of returning vets, but also challenge perceptions and honor those who come home ready to thrive.

From left, Randy Levander, Todd DePastino, Patti Gerhauser and Aryanna Berringer, pose outside the WESA studios on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.
Credit Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Today's guests include:

  • Aryanna Berringer, an Iraq War veteran who enlisted just two months after 9/11 terrorist attacks, serving with the 18th Army Airborne as a communications operator. She's now a global IT project manager and founder of the non-profit, American Nutritional Security, and serves on the local chapters of The Mission Continues and Team RWB.
  • Patti Gerhauser, who served as a petty officer with the U.S. Navy deployed to the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden with the USS Gettysburg, CG 64. Today, she's a community organizer with the Hazelwood Initiative and works with The Mission Continues.
  • Randy Levander, director of business development at the Veterans Leadership Program of Southwest Pennsylvania, and on his 14th year of active duty in security forces with the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves.
  • Todd DePastino, historian and director of the non-profit Veterans Breakfast Club.

Artist and artist liaison Christiane Leach laughs outside the WESA studio on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.
Credit Mick Stinelli / 90.5 WESA

Elsewhere on the program, Christiane Leach, artist relations manager for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, shares her experience not just as a multiplatform artist, but as a frequent advocate for the financial and political support of artists working in and around the Pittsburgh area.

And 90.5 WESA's Virginia Alvino Young reports on the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh's response to falling numbers in parishioners and priests.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.