Opening Reception: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 6:30- 8 p.m.
TIFFIN UNIVERSITY, Tiffin, OH— Tiffin University’s Diane Kidd Gallery will host “One Soldier’s PTSD Story,” an exhibition of drawings by G.A. Hunt, retired U.S. Army Major on Wed., Nov. 6 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. following a 5 p.m. presentation featuring Louis (Louie) Belluomini and his service dog, Star. The gallery is located inside of the Hayes Center for the Arts on TU’s campus. Light refreshments will be served and the public is encouraged to attend.
Born in the United Kingdom, G.A. Hunt immigrated to the United States in 1989. Hunt received a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, after becoming a United States citizen in 2001, and enlisted in the United States Army shortly thereafter. Hunt was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the United States Army Officer Candidate School, at Fort Benning, Georgia in 2003. Following deployment to Iraq as the M2 .50 caliber gunner and communications (Signal) officer on a Military Transition Team (MTT), Hunt was selected to become a Foreign Area Officer (FAO) for the Middle East and North Africa, earning an associate’s degree in Arabic through the United States Army Defense Language Institute (DLI) in 2012 and a master’s degree in International Public Policy (Strategic Studies) from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advance International Studies (SAIS) in 2015. Hunt deployed three times during service.
Following reassignment and return to the United States after a final tour in the Middle East in 2017, Hunt was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Due to the severity of symptoms, Hunt was reassigned to the United States Army Fort Belvoir’s Wounded Warrior Battalion in Virginia, attending fifty weeks of treatment through Fort Belvoir Community Hospital’s Co-Occurring Partial Hospitalization Program (COOPH). It was here that Hunt began to allow recollections and reflections of long-suppressed memories to emerge. Art became a mechanism to not only express but to cope with the memories of combat-related trauma.
Hunt was medically retired in 2019 for PTSD. Hunt continues to struggle with PTSD during retirement. Her recovery is slow. However, Hunt’s daily life drastically improved after receiving a service dog from K9’s for Warriors.
Though now medically retired, Hunt named this collection “One Soldier’s PTSD Story” as she is only one of the many soldiers and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her experiences, traumas, coping mechanisms, and daily struggles, though unique to her are shared by varying degrees among those affected by combat-related PTSD.
“This body of work encompasses the previous two years, from active duty soldier to veteran,” stated Hunt. “My journey isn’t pretty. My struggle is ongoing. Daily tasks remain a challenge. However, I keep fighting assisted in large part by my K9’s for Warriors service dog”.
According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 11-20% of those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), 12% of those who served in the Gulf War and 15-30% of those who served in Vietnam have PTSD in a given year. There is no one, single proven treatment for PTSD. Everyone is different and everyone responds differently to different treatment protocols.
Drawing became a mechanism for Hunt to cope, an easier way to not only capture, but express her thoughts. She would escape during group sessions and art therapy, quieting anxiety and flashbacks. Some of her work was assigned as treatment. The drawings reflect Ms. Hunt’s memories, flashbacks, and emotions throughout the period.
“Through my drawings, I have realized that I am not alone in my struggles. I hope that my drawings continue to raise awareness of PTSD, give an insight to those affected by a loved one with PTSD, and remind others suffering from PTSD that they are not alone,” G.A. Hunt expressed.
Diane Kidd Art Gallery director Joseph Van Kerkhove remarks, “Hunt’s drawings display her daily struggles living with PTSD and bring the realities of PTSD to the forefront through her expressive, raw and captivating drawing.”
For more information about this event or the subject matter, email Joseph Van Kerkhove at email@example.com.
Tiffin University’s Diane Kidd Gallery will host "One Soldier’s PTSD Story," an exhibition of drawings by G.A. Hunt, retired U.S. Army Major on Wed., Nov. 6.