News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 10, 2012

Third annual Veterans Day program hosted by Ivy Tech Community College focuses on Wounded Warriors Project

TERRE HAUTE — Awareness of issues facing veterans was raised with the nation’s colors inside Oakley Auditorium on Friday.

The third annual Veterans Day program hosted by Ivy Tech Community College featured speaker Mary Quinteros Tallouzi, who now works on behalf of the Wounded Warriors Project. But before becoming an activist for injured veterans and their caregivers, Tallouzi was the mother of two soldiers.

“I’m not here today to scare anyone. I’m here to share a part of my life and help raise awareness,” she said from the podium.

One of her sons, Daniel, was critically injured in 2006 while serving in Iraq. He would remain in various states of a coma until his death in 2009. Recalling the phone call she received on Sept. 25, 2006, Tallouzi described her shock at learning of her son’s traumatic brain injury. As a career insurance claims adjuster, she recalled knowing to write the information she received down on paper, but it was a struggle to make that happen.

As caregiver to her son, she spent the rest of his life fighting for his benefits, working to move him into the best private brain injury facilities in the country. Working through the network of mothers and fathers also caring for their injured sons and daughters, Tallouzi learned to navigate the health care system, helping others along the way. Those efforts paid off when on one occasion her son, who was in an “open-eyed coma,” managed to shout out “mom” shortly before his death, she recalled with emotion.

But without an advocate to support them, injured veterans face incredible obstacles. Tallouzi noted that some are abandoned by their spouses, and others are simply incapable of caring for themselves. The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced more than 400,000 veterans with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, she said.

It wasn’t until she began caring for her grown son that her own brother, a U.S. Marine, told her some of his experiences from three tours in Vietnam. Other veterans shared their experiences with her as well, and she emphasized the significance of knowing that she wasn’t alone.

Meanwhile, the Wounded Warrior Project began offering her support almost immediately, she recalled. From its trademark backpack full of supplies, to information and even financial assistance, its members helped her along the way as she now does for others.

When addressing troops bound for deployment, Tallouzi said she reminds the soldiers and sailors to make sure their power-of-attorney paperwork is in order. It’s not to scare them, she said, but having had to jump through the legal hoops of re-establishing guardianship of her grown son, it’s information she wants to share.

For the first time in its history, the U.S. has been fighting wars with an all-volunteer military. The draft long gone, awareness of the wars sometimes thins, she said. But the troops in today’s all-volunteer military are serving eight and nine tours instead of two or three. And the same medical technology which is saving their lives, is also returning them home with injuries.

Tallouzi now serves as a spokeswoman for the Wounded Warriors Project. Her son’s story was told in the book “Pediatrician Soldier” and featured in the New York Times.

Dr. Ann Valentine, Chancellor of the Ivy Tech Community College — Wabash Valley campus, noted prior to the speech that just this week, more than 100 million Americans freely participated in a presidential election. A rare occurrence in this world, Americans enjoy the liberty to peaceably choose their leaders.

“People around the world look at us in envy,” she said, adding that this liberty is afforded citizens by those who serve in the military.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's
NDN Video
Facebook Is Officially A Mobile Company 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010