It took Iraq War veteran John Ready of Oneida almost ten years to write about the experiences he went through as part of a civil affairs unit. But he decided to chronicle the strange, sometimes funny and poignant happenings and thoughts in his book, "Does My Suicide Vest Make Me Look Fat?: A Soldier's Year in Iraq."
Ready remembers people asking him questions about how many people he killed, and other aspects of battle, even though he was there rebuilding schools, clinics and mosques. He wasn't sure soldiers in combat would appreciate his take on the every-day occurrences that were also part of the experience there. But eventually he though he'd let readers decide. he also hopes the book allows those who dwell on the horrors of war, to perhaps replace those thoughts with other memories.
'CLEAR PATH FOR VETERANS' PROVIDES SANCTUARY, HEALING
Ready is a member at Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango. the center was built out of an abandoned rec center, bought by two benefactors and renovated. Melissa Spicer and Melinda Sorentino are seeing their vision emerge of a place veterans can go for camaraderie, activities, various kinds of assistance and support.
Executive Director John Mays says programs such as Dogs 2 Vets, massage and other therapy, and the Wingman program have helped. Sometimes that help is directly related to specific issues the veteran faces. it can also be a helping hand to other community services. Mays says the center is funded by community donations and grants and never costs veterans anything.