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Theatre production in Fort Wayne benefits Safe Haven

On July 31st, 2015 while David Wilson(the clinical coordinator of Safe Haven) sat in the audience with three of his clients and watched the performance of “I Will Wait; the Veteran’s Spouse Project,” he thought, “…every returning veteran from the Middle-East needs to be commanded to see this prior to reengaging with their own families.”

This special production combined music, dance and drama to portray the stories of military spouses throughout different war eras starting with the end of World War II and ending with the current war. It was at Arts United in Fort Wayne and 100 percent of the proceeds were donated to the Richard Lugar Safe Haven, a residential program of Volunteers of America of Indiana.

Amy Upgraft, the creator and co-playwright, served as a catalyst for the production because she wanted more people to share their own stories with others. She also wants it to serve both as a way for spouses to share stories between each other and as a way to educate other people about how military service affects families. In her own words:

“We want to help bridge the widening gap between our military and the rest of the American population while allowing veterans’ spouses to feel like their stories were being told...I want Americans to see that we are all connected…and their connection to the military is often not as far away as it feels.”–

Wilson saw such value in this production because it touched him on a personal basis and a professional basis. In a brief review to his staff he stated: “The section on the Vietnam family really hit me hard. I have no idea where Amy got her material for this one, but it is so close to a family I personally knew that it nearly wrenched my heart right out of my chest.”

Wilson gave some opening remarks that introduced the audience to Safe Haven. He also briefly commented from the clinician’s perspective on needs family members have related to deployment of a loved one. Overall, he was very impressed with the production, saying, “Considering the work we do with veterans, I think this perspective is highly relevant for us to have a better approach as we help our residents adjust to their own families and friends with a better understanding of how to make their own situations improve.”