News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 1, 2014

VETERAN’S EXPO: Life after service

Students, businesses, groups offer vets training, services

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Brian Freidhoff will soon retire from the U.S. Army and is working on his transition plans.

On Saturday, he took advantage of information and resources available at the Terre Haute Veterans Expo, which took place at Stark Industries.

A professor of military science, Freidhoff is still active duty and teaches in the Army ROTC department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

But as he looks to his future, he is considering going back to school and would like formal training in welding, preferably underwater welding.

He and his wife have a home in Colorado and plan to move there, where his wife has a business.

At the veteran’s expo, Freidhoff obtained information about Lincoln Tech, which has a campus in Denver.

Many other military service members and veterans visited Saturday’s fair to learn about job and educational opportunities or to learn about other resources or services available to them.

“It’s a job fair for veterans,” said Jeff Stark, president of Stark Industries. The event aims to connect employers and veterans “and to get our veterans employed.”

Alan Deakins of Brazil, a Navy veteran, was among those wanting to learn more about job prospects.

Currently, he is enrolled in the Vincennes University Machinist NOW program, an accelerated, 16-week program. He’ll finish in late April.

He’s optimistic about his opportunities and is interested in aerospace, where he already has experience. “I want to talk to people and see what they have to offer,” Deakins said.

Clarence Soughers, a U.S. Army veteran and chaplain for Amvets Post 222, attended to find out new information about benefits and services, which he’ll share with the veterans he serves.

Among those who set up a booth were Connie and John Conway, who sought names of veterans overseas “so we can send boxes to them,” Connie Conway said.

Also participating in the expo were students in the master of arts in art therapy program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Veterans, family members and others attending could participate in an abstract art project that included a community piece and then individual ones. Participants took a swatch of wallpaper or fabric, laid it on a paint-covered canvas and then peeled it back to create their individual art piece.

Amber McCullough, one of the students involved in the demonstration, said art is healing and helps people relax.

Jill McNutt, an art therapy faculty member, said art therapy can be used to work with those who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. In addition to helping veterans relax and heal, it can help them build hope for the future and recreate their lives.

The event was hosted by WorkOne Western Indiana and the Indiana Air National Guard 181st Intelligence Wing Family Readiness Program, in conjunction with Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-8th.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or