The News l e tte r o f LI NKS E AS T D ro p - I n C e n t e r

SU M M E R 2009

Never been to LINKS EAST? Here’s what you will find
landlord, we suspect, got some free blue paint and took a liberal interpretation of what to paint as “trim”. In the next few months, we hope to repaint. Until we do, look for the house with the blue trim, lots of blue trim. Once you come in you will be greeted by one or both of the Peer Support Specialists who staff each shift. They will offer you a free cup of coffee and a tour of the house.
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If you are one of the people who drop in at LINKS EAST on a weekly basis, you may want to skip this column. This month I’m using this space to tell folks who have never been to see us what they can expect on their first visit to LINKS. Maybe you are sitting in the waiting area at Connections or Jewish Family Services and reading this newsletter. Maybe you’ve heard about LINKS EAST but never got up the courage to visit. After all, going somewhere you’ve never been before can be a bit scary.

What if you feel like a stranger? What if you aren’t made to feel welcome? Well, put those fears to rest. At LINKS EAST we consider new people just friends we haven’t met yet. First some geography. LINKS EAST, located at 2500 Noble Rd., is a few blocks north of Monticello and several blocks south of Euclid. LINKS EAST is located in a white house with blue trim and a wrap-around front porch. Right now there are flowers blooming in pots on the porch. We are not crazy about our paint job – our previous

In This Issue... Message From the Director Man’s Best Friend Benefits Consumers at NCBH Links Lives Members Members Members New in Our Library Links Calendar

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LINKS EAST Drop-In Center is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), consumer operated agency of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County, approved by the Ohio Department of Mental Health. County, All submissions may be considered for use in future print and digital media promotional material at the sole discretion of LINKS EAST.

OUR STAFF Belinda Wilson Executive Director Newsletter Editor/Writer Rebecca Smith Peer Support Specialist, Clients Rights Officer Kenneth Lynn Peer Support Specialist, Safety Officer, Newsletter Designer Barb Barnhouse Maurice Goldkrantz Leo Hollman Scott Mars Barb McCormick Kent Smith Peer Support Staff Marshall Markowitz Housekeeping OUR BOARD Danielle Holliman President Meleika Mohamoud Vice-President Robin Castagnola Secretary Angela Flowers Sheilah Moshogianes Derrick Kranke

Man’s best friend benefits consumers at NCBH
Over the summer, consumers and staff from LINKS EAST have been traveling to the Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare, Northfield campus, to participate in Toby and Friends, a program developed by NCBH psychologist, Dr. Zev Goldberg, funded by the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation. The program gets its name from Toby, a small white Havanese dog owned by consumer Chris Bruce. Chris utilizes Toby as a service dog: After finding Toby on the Petfinder. org rescue site for animals who need homes, Chris brought Toby into her home and realized that the hours she spends training and playing with the feisty little dog are hours that her symptoms remain under control. Chris began bringing Toby to NCBH in order to share with other consumers the benefits of loving and caring for a canine friend. LINKS EAST has no shortage of dog lovers among its staff and members so when Dr. Goldberg invited us to come and participate in the program we happily accepted. Thus far, Barb and Barry Barnhouse’s white poodle, Zoey, Belinda Wilson’s pugs Maxi and Minnie, and former LINKS EAST Board President Beth Knowlton’s pug Eliot have traveled to NCBH to interact with the patients there. The patients at NCBH who participate in Toby and Friends have expanded their knowledge of dogs and what it takes to care for a dog. The program has also featured volunteers and their dogs from various rescue organizations in Greater Cleveland. Toby, a beautifully trained little dog, remains the star of the program that bears his name. He and Chris are living proof that canine companions can vastly enrich the lives of consumers who bring a dog into their homes and into their hearts.
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MISSION STATEMENT “A peaceful, social place created and directed by a community of friends who are challenged by mental illneses and dedicated to celebrating Diversity, Personal Healing, and Growth.”
Our Community/Summer 2009

LINKS LIVES
Scott Mars reports from 7th Annual Mental Health and Deafness Conference
Editor’s note: In May, LINKS EAST Peer Support Specialist Scott Mars, who is hearing impaired, attended the 7th Annual Mental Health and Deafness Conference in Columbus, OH. This year’s conference focused on the dual diagnosis of mental illness and alcohol/drug addiction. Here is Scott’s report. My trip to Columbus was very eventful and a voyage to learn more about my culture as a consumer who suffers from mental illness and hearing loss. Many deaf consumers do feel silence and find ways to escape loneliness. Some may turn to drugs or alcoholic drinks. This can lead to a dual diagnosis. EAST, has the potential also to be helpful to others like me and that together we can grow as a community.

New member Joyce Zaid: This working mother stays busy
Joyce Zaid first came to LINKS EAST after picking up one of our calendars in the lobby at Connections. Since April, she has been coming to LINKS EAST at least a couple of times a week because as she says, “I like coming to LINKS because here I’m with people who know what I’m going through.” She adds that coming to LINKS is especially helpful to her as “When I am not feeling well, I tend to cut myself off,” and LINKS provides an alternative to being cut off from others and having her symptoms worsen.

Joyce is 48 years old and a mother of two: her son Brandon is 22; her son Michael is 21. She was I’ve learned about terms that define a person’s hearing loss: deaf, hard of hearing and late deafened. attending Tri-C, working toward a college degree when she became ill. Despite her illness, Joyce has Language barriers can be isolating and I understand this issue. Some (with hearing impairment) speak sign an extensive work history. She has worked in clerical positions, light assembly and most recently, telemarlanguage such as ASL (American Sign Language), keting. She credits programs at VGS and Cleveland finger spelling, lip reading, oral communication, or street sign. Sign language is now recognized as a lan- Works for helping her find employment. Recently laid off in the economy’s downturn, Joyce hopes to find a guage just as English, French, Spanish, Russian, etc, new clerical position in the near future. are languages. Interpreters are available to the deaf community but some may not have access to them. From what I understand, only three out of 55 counties in the State of Ohio have mental health programs for the deaf. A consumer with a hearing loss can find hope with the help of case managers who know about ASL. Connections here in Cleveland is one of these agencies that have programs that serve the deaf as well as those with dual diagnosis. On a recent visit to LINKS, Joyce showed the handbags she has been crocheting. She only recently learned to crochet and says it helps her with concentration and focus. She also has crocheted a scarf, a cell phone cover and a cover for a pillow. She crochets in spare moments and even while riding the RTA bus. And she is not one to sit home. Joyce says she enjoys going places and doing things. On a recent weekend she was attending two concerts to hear a friend perform.

I left the Columbus conference with a desire to Whenever Joyce is at LINKS her smile, sly get the word out and advocate for those who are deaf sense of humor and optimistic attitude never fail to and have mental illness. Attending the conference gave me new hope about being a consumer and hear- brighten up the room. Her empathy for others also comes through. She is caring listener who is quick to ing impaired. I feel that our drop-in center, LINKS

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offer words of support and wisdom to anyone who is experiencing a tough moment or a bad day.

A Debt of Gratitude
by Merle C. Ross I can recall back in March when I came back from Huron Hospital. I was in extreme withdrawal from my psych meds, which were stopped as I was treated for a massive pneumonia in my right lung. After my case manager dropped me off, I realized I could not find my house keys, and it was still very cold outside. Completely disoriented, I began wandering aimlessly up and down, no one would seem to help. Now a days that’s how it is, even CH patrol cruisers just passed me by. (it’s on you Mr. Ross, it’s either make or break.) As I later came to understand, I seemed to know, one false move in my condition could prove disastrous. By some divine act, I looked from where I was, I noticed there were people on the porch at Links. I had not been there for years. I thought I was not wanted...but yet I saw people I had not seen in years. “What’s wrong Merle?” they asked, “I am locked out”, and that is when I met Belinda. She and everyone understood, we’ve all had that experience before, but in a kind and laughing manner that really comforted me. And then I knew I was saved. The Links staff helped me contact JFSA to get an access key to get in. Members and staff sat with me and shared stories about the times they locked themselves out, which made me feel a lot better.

warm and friendly demeanor when he is at LINKS suggests that this is an accurate self-description. Monty is active with Jewish Family Services and has a special interest in learning more about online marketing and the business opportunities the internet offers.

Member Dale Washington can inspire consumers who want to quit smoking
LINKS EAST member Dale Washington had an active legal career before her illness took hold and knocked her out of “the mainstream” of life. Dale grew up in Cleveland, graduated from East Tech High School and Ohio Northern University in Ada, OH. In 1974 she graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Upon graduating she worked in the county prosecutor’s office and then worked in private general practice. Asked what she enjoyed most about her legal career, Dale says she enjoyed the problem-solving aspects of the law as well as the opportunity to meet all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. Dale comes to LINKS EAST every Saturday and spends the day. She enjoys coming to LINKS because of “the people, both the staff and the other members.” “I feel accepted here,” she says and “there are things to do: I can read the newspaper, watch TV or talk to interesting people.” During the summer months, watching the Cleveland Indians (win or lose) is Dale’s favorite pastime. In July, Dale celebrated her fifth month as a nonsmoker, an achievement of which she is justifiably proud. “I didn’t think I could do it but I feel I’ve really accomplished something in making myself as healthy as I can be and promoting my own wellness by stopping smoking.” Dale says that she finds just as many people to talk to at LINKS now that she is a nonsmoker as she did when she hung out on the front porch with the members who smoke.

New Member Monty Woods has many and varied interests

Monty Woods is among the newest members of LINKS EAST. Monty is single and attended Elyria High School and then obtained his G.E.D. He currently lives in Cleveland and says that he has a range of interests that include sports, travel, surfing the internet and good conversation. His taste in food may be If you are reading this and thinking about stopmore exotic than most: Monty says he likes Asian and ping smoking, let Dale be an inspiration to you. If she French cuisine but American? Not so much. can do it, so can you. Monty describes himself as outgoing and his
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“Never been to LINKS EAST?”
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The tour doesn’t take a long time as the house isn’t all that big but you will see: • The computer room with three computers where you can surf the net • The living room with a TV at one end and lots of comfortable chairs, loveseats and sofas where people watch TV, or just talk (and talk and talk and talk; conversation on a wide range of topics is the most frequent activity at LINKS EAST) • The “middle room” (that’s what I call it as it’s between the computer room, the kitchen and the living room). Here is a large table where the writing group meets on Wednesdays and where people tend to gather to talk and drink coffee every day. This is also the table where we lay out the free food we serve on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. (Eating is the second most popular activity after conversation at LINKS EAST).

• The craft room is also upstairs and is filled with art supplies. Anyone is free to browse thru the craft room and find a project that brings out their “inner artist” • The other main room upstairs is the administrative office. It tends to get rather messy so we keep the door shut. My bad.

So that’s the layout of the place, but it’s what we do here that matters. Check the calendar in this issue and you will see the activities that are scheduled on each day of the week. We’ve recently added “walking club” on two days a week as all of us need more exercise and group stroll on beautiful summer evening has become a popular event. But most important, LINKS EAST is a place to come to so you don’t have to be alone. We have members who drop by daily, members who drop by weekly and members who surprise us by popping in at infrequent intervals. Peer Support Specialist Scott Mars thinks our slogan should be “Saving lives from 4pm to 8pm.” (4pm to 8pm are our weekday hours; Saturdays and Sundays we are open from 1pm to 8pm). Maybe Scott’s slogan is overstating the case, but I know we have members who rely on LINKS EAST to combat the isolation that worsens their symptoms. And for those of us who live with mental illness, LINKS EAST is a “safe house” – a place where everyone understands our challenges and doesn’t judge us. A positive attitude permeates LINKS EAST. Our staff members are all consumers who work as Peer Support Specialist, but peer support also comes from the members who drop in at LINKS EAST. Whether The new meditation room, equipped with relaxation CD’s, talking about baseball, recipes, or medications, the talk at LINKS EAST helps people feel • At the top of the stairs you will find our new connected to one another. And though we Meditation Room that has been in the works for a respect the privacy and confidentiality of everyone who long time and of which we are very proud. It is a comes to LINKS EAST, no one is alone when they small room decorated in soft shades of tranquil aqua enter our doors. with a beautiful rug and lovely silky drapes filtering So, if you’ve never been to LINKS EAST, I inthe light that comes in through the two windows. You vite you to come and see us now that you know what to can sit in a chair or on one of the soft pillows placed along the floor. There is a CD player with soft music, expect. Summer is almost gone and when the skies get gray and the wind blows cold, the people who gather in and vases of flowers and flameless candle placed on the little white house with the garish blue trim provide a low table both for their beauty and to be used as a the warmth of friendship and the support we receive focal point when meditating. when we reach out to help one another.
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MEMBERS MEMBERS MEMBERS
TREE KILLERS Sentiments: Links East clubhouse members Expressions by Beryl J. Khabeer, MA Orange barrels mark the spots Of the onslaught of disfigurements to nature.... Even to the made-up nature of things; Old buildings, downed, Repaved brick roads colored asphalt. Potholes express modernity! Now our old, diseased by our sewage, TREE Is felled. Like a star from our heavens, Our heavenly home now marred By a brown-stoop stumped Into the sanctity of our clubhouse!?
(c) July 25, 2009

Some days are good Some are bad Some are mental challenges Some are physical challenges When these days are good They give an aura of wonderment Having the ability to go To get the usual done, gratefully When these days get bad You want to crawl away Hiding from whatever may ail you Trying to get through it, wisely Sometimes it seems the days Get topsy-turvy all day long Both in the same day Taking whatever may come your way In life you have the good days and the bad days You adjust to the ever present Not knowing what will happen Thanking whatever that you are alive ~ Becky Smith,
4/11/09

“The Soloist” Has a Subliminal Message
By Beryl Jean Khabeer, M.A.

The salient message and plot of “The Soloist” is that a journalist, Steve Lopez, played by Robert Downey, Jr., befriends a homeless man, Nathaniel Ayers, played by Jamie Foxx, who is also an extraordinary musician. Yet between movie picture frames is an underlying understanding of how and why the social fabric could not support this man’s musical genius, and in fact, helped to undermine his whole psychological universe. For did not Ayers’ mother disclose to Lopez that in his youthful days living with his mother, Ayers did not participate in community development while honing his skills at music. Thus, when he got very sick (sick of whiteness he mentions in the film), he could not go home and fit in! Ayers had not been in the process of Black community developing. This was the subliminal message to my heart and my soul. For how is rehabilitation possible if there were no first steps made in habilitation–in the Black community and in the living arts. In other words, any way that Nathaniel Ayers could or would compensate for this lost, black lifestyle would be viewed as at best eccentric; at worst, schizophrenic. Man without a country? Worse. Man without a mind.

NEW IN OUR LIBRARY
Bi-Polar disorder plays on Broadway Fighting the stigma of mental illness has been an uphill battle for consumers and the mental health community for a long, long time. The Tony Award winning rock musical, Next To Normal suggests that maybe we are winning the stigma battle. Just think, who would have ever dreamed that the heroine of a Broadway show would be a woman with Bi-Polar disorder or that the plot and songs of a Broadway show would chronicle the challenges and heartaches of living with mental illness? But that’s just what Next to Normal does. Written by Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics) with music by Tom Kitt, the show won an the award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Alice Riply, a graduate of Kent State University. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.com, Next to Normal concerns the struggles of a mother with worsening bi-polar disorder, and also explores the themes of grief, suicide, drug abuse and the ethics of modern psychiatry. New York Times drama critic Ben Brantley had this to say about the show: “It is something more than a feel good musical; it is a feel everything musical.” Next to Normal: The Original Cast CD is available in the LINKS EAST Library. Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, MD is the newest addition to our library. In a very easy to read format with helpful worksheets and checklists, Feeling Good offers proven strategies for improving your mood by changing your thought patterns, what therapists call Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In a clinical study, a group of depressed individuals were given the book Feeling Good and encouraged to read in within a month. A control group of other depressed people were advised that they would be on a waiting list and would receive the book in a month’s time. This control group was established to control for the effects of reduction in symptoms by just the passage of time. Results of the study at the end of the month showed that a statistically significant percentage of the individuals who read Feeling Good were feeling markedly less depressed than they had been at the outset of the experiment. And these were people who were not taking any antidepressant medications or receiving any concurrent talk therapy. Burns uses the term “bibliotherapy” to describe treatment that consists simply of reading a self-help book. Feeling Good has been in print and updated with new revisions since 1980 and is recognized by professionals and readers alike as a proven treatment for depression (though not depression in its severe form) For consumers who are plagued with negative thought patterns and feelings of low-self worth, a course of bibliotherapy – readying and studying this book – may have real benefits. You’ll find it in the LINKS EAST Library. Our member’s lending library at LINKS EAST has a wide range of non-fiction titles on all aspects of mental health and mental illness. We also are building a collection of fiction books with themes that include mental illness/mental health topics. Members are encouraged to take out books to read at home.. Simply tell a staff member on duty who will write down your name, a contact number, and the date you expect to return the book.

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LINKS EAST FACT SHEET • LINKS EAST has been in existence since 1987. Its membership includes consumers who have been coming to LINKS EAST for 20 years. • Among its activities, “Talking and socializing with other consumers” always has ranked first among the membership responding to attitude surveys conducted by the agency. • Peer support is ongoing at LINKS EAST where both members and staff support one another discussing medication concerns, family issues, stigma, Medicare/Medicaid regulations among a wide range of other topics. Peer support at LINKS EAST is occurring every time its doors are open. • Every week LINKS EAST offers computer and internet instruction, a movie and pizza night, bingo, arts and crafts, music, a creative writing group, a Friday night dinner and a Saturday brunch. All of theses events are free to members and their guests. • The LINKS EAST Mission Statement includes a commitment to diversity and the composition of its membership, staff, and Board of Directors reflect that commitment. • LINKS EAST is open when most other mental health resources are closed: its hours are Tuesdays thru Friday, 4pm to 8pm; Saturday and Sunday, 1pm to 8pm. • As a consumer-operated drop-in center, LINKS EAST is staffed by persons who themselves live with mental illness. Our Peer Support Specialists have first-hand knowledge of issues confronting consumers. • LINKS EAST has an open-door policy where consumers new to the agency are invited to “drop-in” anytime during open hours. No appointment or prior notice is ever required. • LINKS EAST is funded by ADAMHS (the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County and certified as a consumer-operated service by the Ohio Department of Mental Health.
Our Community/Summer 2009

Everything we do at LINKS EAST is based on what members feel they want to meet their needs as persons living with the unique challenges of mental illness. If you have ideas or concerns you wish to bring to our attention, there are a variety of ways to do so. * Use the Suggestion Box located by the sign in sheet. Slip in a note; you don’t need to sign your name. We will share the Suggestions and discuss them at each general meeting. * Talk with any staff member on duty. * Speak with the Executive Director. Belinda works a part-time flexible schedule that varies according to the needs of the agency, but will promptly return your call. * Leave a message on Voice Mail or give your contact information to a staff member to pass along to Belinda. * Email us at linkseast@aol.com * Post a comment on Myspace.com/linkseast * Speak up at a General Meeting. They are held on the second Friday of each month after the Gourmet Night dinner. * Bring your ideas or concerns to the LINKS EAST Board of Directors at their monthly meetings. These meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month at LINKS EAST and begin at 6pm. Information about our Board of Directors is posted on the Bulletin Board above the telephone table.

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SUNDAY
Walking Club 2 PM Music 3 PM

MONDAY

LINKS EVENT CALENDAR
TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY
Walking Club
6:30

FRIDAY
Free Dinner / Recovery Dialogue 5:30 PM

SATURDAY
Brunch 2PM Bingo 3PM

Writing 4:30 PM

Movie & Pizza 5 PM

Walking Club 2 PM Music 3 PM

Toby & Friends @ NBH
(2nd & 4th Tuesday) meet at Links @ 2:30

Writing 4:30 PM

Movie & Pizza 5 PM

Free Dinner / General Meeting 5:30 PM

Brunch 2PM Bingo 3PM

(2nd Tuesday of some months) @ 6 PM

Board Meeting

Walking Club 2 PM Music 3 PM

Walking Club 6:30

Writing 4:30 PM

Movie & Pizza 5 PM

Free Dinner / Recovery Dialogue 5:30 PM

Brunch 2PM Bingo 3PM

Walking Club 2 PM Music 3 PM

Toby & Friends @ NBH
(2nd & 4th Tuesday) meet at Links at 2:30

Writing 4:30 PM

Movie & Pizza 5 PM

Free Dinner/This Months’ Birthdays 5:30 PM

Walking Club 6:30

Brunch 2PM Bingo 3PM

Walking Club 2 PM Music 3 PM

Walking Club 6:30

Writing 4:30 PM

Movie & Pizza 5 PM

Free Dinner 5:30 PM

Brunch 2PM Bingo 3PM

1 - 8 pm

CLOSED

4 - 8 pm

4 - 8 pm
Regular Activities

4 - 8 pm

4 - 8 pm

1 - 8 pm

Scheduled Meetings
Board Meetings Tuesday, August TBA Tuesday, September TBA General Meetings (follows Dinner @ 6 PM) Friday, August 14, 2009 Friday, September 11, 2009

Bingo Saturdays @ 3 PM (always available upon request!) Writing Wednesdays @ 4:30 PM Music Sundays @ 3 PM Movies & Pizza Thursdays @ 5 PM Recovery Dialogue Night (follows Dinner @ 6 PM ) 1st & 3rd Fridays Walking Group Sundays 2 PM, Tuesday 6:30 PM

Toby & Friends 2nd & 4th Tuesdays. Meet at Links for transportation to Northcoast Behavioral Center at 2:30, activity runs from 3 - 4:30. Meet support dogs!

FYI
We are closed: All Mondays

Labor Day, Monday, September 7th
Links East will also be closed,without prior notice when the weather gets bad. All events are free to members; times & dates are subject to change. Please call or check our website myspace.com/linkseast for further information. All events take place at Links East unless otherwise noted. LINKS EAST has van service to and from LINKS on a limited basis. Call to inquire about transportation. We are also on the 41 RTA busline. Contact RTA at (216) 621-9500, TDD (216) 781-4271 or visit their site at RideRTA.com for more time schedules & fare information.

Free Food
Movies & Pizza Thursdays @ 5 PM Dinners Every Friday @ 5:30 PM Brunch Every Saturday @ 2 PM Cookouts Saturday, July 18, at 3 PM Saturday, August 22 at 3 PM Note: all meals and coffee are now on the house! Ask about low priced frozen dinners.

Off Site Activities
Meet Up Support Group (Borders, Severance Center) Wednesday, August 12, 2009 @ 7 PM Wednesday, August 26, 2009 @ 7 PM

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LINKS EAST SALUTES OUR VETERANS
We would like to take this opportunity to recognize those among our members who served the United States of America as a member of the Armed Forces. Please note that this list is not complete, and as we become aware of other veterans among our membership we will publish their names and recognize them for the service they gave to our country. In this issue we wish to recognize the following members and thank them for their service: Alfred E. Jackson, III, United States Army, Specialist 4th Class, Personnel Adminstrative Specialist, stationed at Ft. Knox, KY and Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN, Youngson, Seoul, South Korea. 1977-1980. Janice Martin, United States Army, Captain, Medic, stationed in Ft. Dix, NJ and Bad Kreuznach, West Germany, 1982-1986 (dates approximate). Ann Nesbitt, Untied States Air Force, stationed at Cleveland, OH and Cheyenne, WY., 1990-2001. Eric Reese, United States Army, Specialist 4th Class, clerk typist and supply clerky, stationed at Fort Knox, KY, Louisville, KY, West Germany, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Copenhagen. 1972-1973.

Richard Blocker, United States Army, Private, E1, stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey and Fort Lee, Virginia, July – November, 1967

LinksEast

Noble Road Cleveland Heights, OH 44121

PLACE STAMP HERE