AETN, museum, Veterans Affairs partner for appreciation event
CONWAY — The Arkansas Educational Television Network, in partnership with the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, will host a veterans appreciation event on Monday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the museum, 503 E. Ninth St., Little Rock.
The event will showcase Arkansas veterans organizations and their services and include screenings of AETN’s “Veterans Coming Home: Finding What Works” digital shorts, a news release said. Refreshments will be served.
“Veterans Coming Home: Finding What Works” is a digital content and engagement initiative focusing on successful examples of veterans “finding what works” to overcome personal challenges in transitioning from active duty to civilian life, the release said.
AETN is sharing content focusing on specific topics related to veterans weekly through Nov. 23 on Facebook (facebook.com/ aetntv) and at http://www.aetn.org/veteranscominghome. A national website dedicated to veterans’ stories of service is available at http://www.veteranscominghome.org.
The shorts, featuring Arkansas veterans and their connected support organizations, shown during the veterans appreciation event will include the following:
• “Ain’t Dead Yet” — Anthony Smith survived an RPG explosion in Iraq but lost his arm and his ability to walk. After months of intense physical therapy and with the help of deep familial support, Smith found renewed strength and purpose through teaching martial arts to students of all ages in his northeast Arkansas martial arts studio and through training for the 2020 U.S. Paralympic team.
• “Sowing Salvation” — After multiple tours in Iraq, Terrell “Spence” Spencer sought peace through working the land in northwest Arkansas. Inspired to pursue farming after witnessing an Iraqi family farming their land, he searched for a similar calm after his return home to the U.S. Ultimately, he found fulfillment helping other veterans heal through farming with his creation of a program called “Armed to Farm.”
• “Veteran’s Best Friend” — When Amanda Hugo returned home after 21 years of service on a U.S. Air Force bomb squad in Iraq, she faced daunting physical and emotional hardships. Her partnership with a service dog — an 18-month old English Mastiff named Axel — offered new challenges and solutions. Together, they formed a unique and evolving partnership.
• “Compasión” — Returning from active duty in Iraq to face divorce and single parenthood, Arkansas National Guard Capt. Cibelés Ramirez Rodriguez found purpose in being a mother, in helping others and in passing on the value of compassion to her
A special broadcast that includes the locally produced Arkansas veterans’ stories will premiere at 7 p.m. Monday and repeat at 7:30 p.m. on AETN.
The MacArthur Museum will host an additional Veterans Day program, “Baseball and the American Flag,” at 7 p.m. Monday. Baseball legend Rick Monday, who served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves while playing Major League Baseball, will share his story of stopping two would-be protesters from setting an American flag on fire during a game at Dodger Stadium in April 1976 while playing for the Chicago Cubs. The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Children’s Theater of the Arkansas Arts Center, adjacent to the military museum in MacArthur Park.