Dr. Jon Kerstetter (Photo by Nicole Kerstetter)
Veterans Voices Writing Project, a national organization based in Kansas City, Mo., will observe its 54th annual Veterans Pen Celebration and Fundraiser from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at The National World War I Museum and Memorial at 2 Memorial Drive in Kansas City, Mo.
The event is open to the public, and there is no admission charge.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Jon Kerstetter, will discuss his recently published memoir, “Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier’s Story,” which details his experiences in war-torn Rwanda, Kosovo and Bosnia and his three tours in Iraq at the height of the fighting.
In his autobiography, Kerstetter also details the stroke he had at the peak of his career that ended his profession as a physician. Left with serious cognitive and physical disabilities compounded by post-traumatic stress disorder and excruciating pain, Kerstetter began his years-long recovery using writing about his experiences as a way to help him order his thinking, reform vital brain connections and ultimately heal.
Highlights of the annual celebration also will include:
• Greetings by Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James, who was a Marine military police officer for four years in California, the Philippines and Japan during the Vietnam War.
• Entertainment by members of Arts & AGEing KC, who will present stories and poems from the pages of Veterans’ Voices magazine.
• Recognition of VVWP supporters and Veterans’ Voices authors.
• A book table for guests who want to purchase Kerstetter’s “Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier’s Story,” books by Veterans’ Voices authors and other books by veterans, courtesy of Eve Brackenbury of Inklings Book and Coffee Shoppe in Blue Springs, Mo. Dr. Kerstetter, Clint Jarrett, Bruce McClain, K.W. Peery and Lou Eisenbrandt will be available to autograph their books.
Since 1946, VVWP, publishers of Veterans’ Voices magazine, has offered therapeutic writing to veterans in communities and in Veterans Administration health facilities across the United States with support from writing aides and writing groups. In 1952 the organization published the first issue of Veterans’ Voices magazine and continues to publish veterans’ stories and poems in three issues each year.