Young patriotic artist honored

By Tracy Hopkins - Contributing columnist

Art competition winner Pearl Spurlock with her parents, Brian Spurlock and Eileen Brady.

Submitted photo

VFW Post 6710 Auxiliary hosts creative youth every year to compete for scholarships totaling up to $31,000 at the National Convention — an opportunity to engage patriotic youth and help offset their college expense — in the Young American Patriotic Art Contest.

In the 2019-2020 program year, Pearl Spurlock participated in this competition. She is the winner from our Post and District 4. She has been promoted to compete at the Department (State) level and could be the winning entry of 21 entrants from Ohio who advanced to compete at the National Convention.

Pearl is a 2021 graduate of East Clinton High School. She was accepted into Ohio University where she will pursue a degree in studio art. We wish her luck in all of her endeavors and know that she will do well!

As a result of her experience as a military child and love for her father, Retired Major Brian Spurlock, she drew a picture of a welcome home moment that her mother captured on camera several years ago.

Major Spurlock served a total of 28 years. He started his career with the Navy, serving 11 years. He then joined the Air Force, where he worked as an emergency room nurse.

We want to thank Major Spurlock for his service and all the men and women who serve this great nation, either in uniform under oath or beside them in supporting roles.

When asked what it was like growing up in a military home, Pearl expressed the pride she has for her dad, and easily identified as a “military brat.” She identified opportunities that the family enjoyed as a result of his service which include travel and good friendships from around the world.

Over the years, she witnessed first-hand how diverse people come together with common cause, supporting each other and their loves ones. She described her small community as wrapping around the family with love and support. She seems to have a deep sense of “American spirit” and service.

VFW Post 6710 Auxiliary is honored to support her in this competition.

Addressing stigma

Pearl believes that veterans groups have an opportunity to address stigma. I found that to be true when I counseled others.

Stigma can prevent people from getting the medical, mental health or substance use related help they need. There is this idea that a soldier is somehow super-human. In combat, “to feel is to die,” can be self-preserving.

However, shutting off feelings will eventually come out in different, sometimes unhealthy ways. No matter how they try to leave it on the battle front, sometimes war follows the soldier home.

It has many names but the signs are the same. Some symptoms include significant changes in mood or thought process, startle response, physical distress, nightmares, distressing memories about a traumatic event, or flashbacks.

These are possible symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and can be caused by experiencing or witnessing traumatic events that do not have to be combat related.

Veterans can contact 866-948-7880 or for questions, consultation, information and resources. The general public can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for treatment referral.

The local Crisis Hotline is 877-695-NEED (6333).

You can also text “4hope” to 741741 to connect to a trained person ready to help.

Tracy Hopkins is Auxiliary President, VFW Post 6710.

Art competition winner Pearl Spurlock with her parents, Brian Spurlock and Eileen Brady. competition winner Pearl Spurlock with her parents, Brian Spurlock and Eileen Brady. Submitted photo

By Tracy Hopkins

Contributing columnist