Film to spread word about statewide effort
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Dr. Chrisanne Gordon is using a film to spread the word about the effort to help war veterans in Ohio.
She has hooked up with Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, city native and former boxing champion and now a filmmaker.
The result will be “Operation Resurrection,” which will detail the statewide effort to assist mentally damaged war veterans.
Gordon, like Mancini, is a Youngstown native and a Cardinal Mooney High graduate. She lives in Columbus, where she treats many returning soldiers with traumatic brain injuries and/or post- traumatic stress disorder.
Many such veterans run afoul of the law or abuse drugs and alcohol, but never get the health and psychiatric care available to them because judges are never told that they were soldiers.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton began the effort to help veterans. She tapped Gordon because of her expertise in helping veterans with behavioral problems related to TBI and PTSD.
Mancini, who is best known in film circles for his documentary “Youngstown: Still Standing,” joined Gordon, Stratton and other principals in a luncheon Wednesday at The Youngstown Club to kick off the opening of the new Youngstown veterans court. Creation of the statewide courts is being spearheaded by Justice Stratton. They are designed to get help for veterans, most of whom had clean records before returning from war.
“Operation Resurrection” will premiere on Veterans Day — 11/11/11 this year — in a multitude of screenings statewide that will be sponsored by the Patriot Guards, the motorcycle group that provides escorts at military funerals.
Mancini’s film crew is shooting the documentary in Youngstown and Columbus.
The film will include interviews with veterans, judges, health-care providers, lawmakers and employers, with the goal of bringing together all people who are in a position to help.
“We expect our young soldiers to give their youth, their blood, sometimes their life. But when they come back and have trouble adjusting because they have a problem, we say to them ‘prove it,’” said Mancini, who is on the board of the National Veterans Foundation.
“My goal is to start a movement — the re-education, the resurrection, of the returning war veteran,” Gordon said.
Gordon approached Mancini about making the film last year when he was in Youngstown to launch his Southpaw wine at a local winery. The former boxer was eager to jump on board, she added.