What: Seton Hill University’s Social Work Program is sponsoring its annual Spring Seminar, which is open to Seton Hill students, faculty and staff as well as members of the public. This year’s seminar, “I’m Coming Home: How to Connect with Today’s Returning Veterans and their Families,” will help those who want to respond to the needs of active duty military personnel and veterans.

The event is free to Seton Hill students, staff and faculty. Members of the public can register for a $20 fee. Continuing education credits for social workers are available at no extra cost and a permanent record of attendance is available for a posting fee of $10.

For more information and to register, contact Bernadette Mendish at 724-830-4637 or mendish@setonhill.edu.

When: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Where: Cecilian Hall, Second Floor Administration Building, Seton Hill University’s Hilltop Campus in Greensburg, Pa.

Who: The keynote speaker for the event is Lt. Col. Thomas J. Stokes, who serves in the U.S. Army Reserves as a military social worker. Most recently, Stokes was Commander of the 328th Medical Detachment, Combat and Operational Stress Control Unit based in Coraopolis, Pa. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as Officer in Charge of the Combat Stress Clinic at Forward Operating Base Gardez, where he was responsible for more than 10,000 military personnel.

Stokes earned his BSW from California State University and his MSW from the University of Pittsburgh. His professional career includes 29 years in behavioral health and administration with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services in Pittsburgh and as a Veterans Court advocate with the Pittsburgh Veterans Administration.

Background: More than 1.3 million men and women serve as active duty military personnel in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. When they return home, many do not feel understood by those around them, beginning with family and friends and extending to employers, teachers and health and service providers.

“I’m Coming Home: How to Connect with Today’s Returning Veterans and their Families” will explore what it’s like to be in today’s military, the experience of those who have deployed overseas and those who have never deployed, the profound transformation that occurs when military personnel deploy, what trauma is in the context of overseas service and how to understand the reintegrating vet and their family in order to be a true friend, teacher or clinician.

Stokes will show clips from the documentary film, "Journey to Normal: Women of War Come Home," which is scheduled to be released later this year. During his tour in Afghanistan, filmmaker JulieHera DeStefano embedded with Stokes’ unit to produce the documentary.