Jennifer Crane

Jennifer Crane

 Coatesville, Pennsylvania, USA
BandSpoken Word

The FACES OF WAR speakers are service members or their loved ones who have served our country during times of war. The FACES OF WAR lecture is encouraging young people, regardless of their political views, to put aside their differences and come together to be educated and inspired.

Biography

Growing up, Jennifer was your average happy-go-lucky kid. Carefree and strong willed from a very young age, Jennifer was sure she would leave her mark on the world. As many children in today’s society, Jennifer’s parents divorced before she was a teenager and her life changed dramatically. She went down a path of self destruction during high school and chose to date those who showed her little dignity or respect.

At the tender age of 17, Jennifer joined the military seeking guidance and stability in her unstable world. It was the first positive adult decision she ever made. It would be an understatement to say that Jennifer got more than she asked for, especially considering that her first day of basic training was September 11, 2001. She was sitting with a platoon of strangers as the towers fell that day and a drill sergeant said they were all going to war. They were right. Within a year of graduating from training, Jennifer was deployed.

She was sent into Afghanistan as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom. At just 20 years old, this young warrior earned her combat patch and the right to call herself a veteran of foreign war. When Jennifer came home from war, the effects of war left her in a state of near death. She was dehydrated and wasting away to nothing and her own family barely recognized her. Jennifer gained physical strength as her mental health deteriorated. The flashbacks of dead bodies and explosions consumed her. Scared, with nowhere to turn, Jennifer began to self medicate with illicit drugs. While using drugs, there were no nightmares because she didn’t sleep. Over time, this too took its toll and the nightmares and flashbacks were no longer held at bay by the insomnia she had created.

Jennifer could not hold a job for more than a couple of weeks and ended up living in her car. The night where she wanted to die was the first sight of light at the end of the tunnel. Jennifer checked into a rehabilitation treatment center within the Veteran’s Administration and found out that she was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and immediately began seeking treatment. A month and a half into her treatment program it was determined that the program was hurting her more than helping her and she found herself back on the streets. With only her car, no place to go, and no hope left, she began using again. It only took three months before she was arrested and given a choice — stay sober, get help for her PTSD or go to jail. She decided that handcuffs and shackles once in a lifetime were humbling enough to set her straight. She entered a local drug court program, had the support of a longtime friend and received proper treatment for her mental disorder.

Jennifer is living life again since receiving the tools on how to manager her life on her own terms. She is now married to an amazing man and is a capable mother of a beautiful daughter. Jennifer believes there are hundreds of thousands of people out there just like her, suffering and feeling like society has forgotten about them. She dedicates herself to giving others faith in society, by speaking out about her taboo past. She has continued her treatments and took on the task of sharing her story with the hope that others become their own ambassador for change. She is an advocate for those who have suffered as she has and believes that if she can touch just one heart or help just one fellow soldier, her struggle will have be worth it.

“Not all scars are visible to the human eye. We all have them inside. It is what we choose to do with those battle wounds that makes the difference. I will never be cured, but I can manage my condition and today I am able to have hope for a better tomorrow.”

2011-12

Discography

The FACES OF WAR lecture includes:
- an informative conversation on the facts and figures pertaining to specific issues within the war.
- the speaker sharing their emotional and eye-opening story and realities of bravely serving our country.
- a MOMENT OF GRATITUDE which provides the opportunity to share messages of thanks, support and love to veterans, including those who did not come home.
- the VOICES OF VETERANS workshop for schools committed to engaging and supporting current and future student veterans (additional cost).
- time for questions and answers creating a dialogue with the students.

Hope's Voice provides each school with:
- FACES OF WAR handouts.
- the GET FEEDBACK report collected from surveys distributed at the event.
- a glossy and eye-catching electronic FACES OF WAR promotional kit.
- the opportunity to order FACES OF WAR t-shirts (at discounted rate) for the programming board.

2011-12