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Iraq veteran will share how dog saved him

Luis Montalván, who wrote 'Until Tuesday,' to speak at Lodi Library

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Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:55 am, Thu May 17, 2012.

When Luis Montalván returned from Iraq, he found himself secluded and constantly on alert in an apartment in Manhattan.

While walking down the street, he looked at a discarded soda can as a potential bomb. At night, he suffered from frequent nightmares.

His post-traumatic stress disorder was crippling, until he met Tuesday.

The golden retriever was trained as a service dog and helped the veteran get back out into the world. He helps him navigate busy streets and wakes him up when he starts to have a nightmare.

Montalván went on to write a book about the companion who he says saved his life, titled "Until Tuesday."

Lodi residents will have the opportunity on Sunday to meet Montalván, who earned a Combat Badge, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

The Lodi Public Library is hosting a book discussion focused on issues faced by returning combat veterans at 7 p.m. today.

Then, on Sunday, the library is bringing in both Montalván and Tuesday.

The library received a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to bring in an author for the Book to Action program. The goal is to get a community to read a book about a social issue, discuss it and then find a way to take action.

The library could choose from several books, but chose Montalván's because it is a pressing issue, said Andrea Woodruff, the library services manager.

"People should read it to understand the impact of modern warfare on our soldiers. Secondly, there needs to be more in the way of medical and psychological care," she said.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is becoming a growing problem throughout the country as soldiers return home, Woodruff said. In Lodi, she said, some of the homeless men are suffering from it from when they were in Vietnam or more recent military action.

The other main factor is the need for service dogs to be allowed to stay close to their owners as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, reference library Sandra Smith said.

For example, Montalván writes about finally working up the courage to ask a girl out on a date, and then not being allowed to get on the bus because the driver would not let Tuesday on.

"They are being turned away from establishments and they have a legal right to be in there," Smith said. "He wants to educate ordinary people like you and me to get better laws and support out of Congress for veteran benefits."

All of the library's adult book clubs have been reading the book, and people are saying they want to get involved, Woodruff said.

"Mostly what I'm hearing is, 'This book hit me hard' and, 'I've got to do something.' It's an incredibly strong call to action," she said.

The book discussion will be held at 7 p.m. tonight in the Lodi Public Library Community Room. The author visit will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Hutchins Street Square in Crete Hall.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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2 comments:

  • Elaine Gray posted at 11:19 am on Thu, May 17, 2012.

    Janelle Posts: 3

    First of all, please excuse my English. I always wanted to write, but had never had confidence because I am deaf. This story reminds me of what I have. I am truly sorry about soldiers who have PTSD. I could understand his situation. I would like to say few things. I rescued a dog last year and he saved my life. I am so happy now. I am not alone or do not walk alone. I believe soldiers are always occupied.... like the deaf residents lived together at school and suddenly we felt abandoned and lonely when we graduated and went home. It was hard to live in this world.... I believe all of a sudden the soldiers feel alone and look lost when they come home. The soldiers deserve a job, home, and stable family. If that does not meet his needs, a dog may fill his void. The dog will always occupy him. I am so happy for Luis and Tuesday. I wish I could go and listen to his story. It is not possible to get a signing interpreter in one day.

     
  • Kim Parigoris posted at 10:00 am on Thu, May 17, 2012.

    Kim Parigoris Posts: 468

    I have met a few soldiers from Iraq that have severe injuries and severe PTSD and it amazes me that a large part of their issues are sometimes with Survivors Guilt Syndrome. These people have suffered unfathomable horrors and fear, and yet their first concern is that they have let someone down. There does need to be more care available, but you would not believe the number of vets who will not get care because it is a sign of weakness. The VA did a huge outreach a couple years ago to get these vets in and I hope it was successful. We, as a nation- not just our government- need to learn from the Vietnam era, which I grew up in. The reception that our military got when they came home was heart wrenching to witness, and I hope we have learned from it. We need to support and welcome our soldiers home with open arms and give so much more respect for them now and I do not see us doing that as a nation. Iraq and Afghanistan have turned in to forgotten wars as far as I can see, from our mainstream media. If anyone wants to get involved in welcoming home events, and/or burial ceremonies please contact Patriot Guard Riders at www.patriotride.org. You do not need to be a vet, or even own a motorcycle to become a member and particiapte.. This organization is phenomenal.

     

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