30 Join Frank Romeo in Support of PTSD Aid
Since March 1, Frank Romeo has braved 80 mph winds, ice storms and other Upstate winter hazards on his mission to bring awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on his statewide “Walk With Frank” campaign.
“This is one of the nice days!” he said this morning in Neahwa Park, where he walked with two dozen under overcast skies, with temperatures hovering in the high 30s.
Romeo, 70, who served in the Army in Vietnam in 1968-70, arrived yesterday afternoon in Oneonta and was greeted with a fish fry dinner at the Vets Club, as well as taken for a tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. This morning, he walked into Neahwa Park to the Vietnam Veterans’ Monument.
“I have a mental illness,” he told the gathered crowd. “I have PTSD for 50 years. The stigma around mental illness is not helping our veterans. We have to lay the foundation for younger veterans and future veterans.”
He taught about PTSD for 30 years, including a pilot curriculum in the Bay Shore school system, where he lives. “We want to lesson to focus less on the battle and more on the lives of the soldiers, through their letters and such,” he said. “It will give the students a sense of sacrifice.”
On his 70th birthday, decided he wanted to make the trek in order to raise more awareness. Along his journey, he has spoken at several schools, including schools in Binghamton, as well as slept in homeless shelters in order to meet with homeless veterans.
“We need to keep advocating,” he said. “We need to help vets today, honor our senior vets and help younger vets.”
On Monday, he will speak on the Senate floor in Albany, and he hopes to finish the walk in June.
“Even if we just start the conversation,” he said. “I’ll feel like I’ve done my job.