SHSS advisory board member honored by White House
Stacy Pearsall, a guest lecturer and member of the advisory board for the School of Humanities, was recently selected a Women Veterans Champion of Change by the White House and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
Pearsall is a former Air Force combat photographer and a disabled veteran and the owner and operator of the Charleston Center for Photography. At The Citadel, Pearsall is a member of School of Humanities and Social Sciences Advisory Board, a frequent guest lecturer and namesake for the Stacy L. Pearsall Citation for Photographic Excellence given each semester to top photography student. Her photography is on permanent exhibit in the lobby of Capers Hall.
"Beyond her significant contributions to the genre of combat photography, Stacy is a passionate advocate for creating opportunity for veterans, both current and future," said Tiffany Silverman, a fine arts instructor at The Citadel. "She has made an enormous impact in the education of our cadets in her generous mentorship of our growing photography program as a mentor, frequent guest lecturer, board member, exhibitor and friend of The Citadel."
Pearsall was recognized recently in Washington, D.C., for her work with veterans. In conjunction with the White House award ceremony, Pearsall's story will be featured on the White House Web site.
"After being wounded in combat, I struggled to find my place in the world," said Pearsall. "It was my fellow veterans who lifted me up, and I owe them a debt of gratitude. So long as I can, I will exhaust every resource possible to ensure America's veterans get the care they need, the help they deserve and the thanks that's owed them."
According to a release from the National Press Photographers Association, along with her involvement with disabled veteran outreach and recovery care coordination, she is a spokeswoman/advocate for the Veterans Affairs, Defense Centers of Excellence and the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. She is a member of the American Legion and a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign War and Disabled American Veterans organizations through which she gathers donated clothes and shower items for homeless veterans, and makes frequent in-patient visits to hospital-bound veterans. She is also a board member of the Foundation for Arts & Healing at Harvard University and Wounded Nature Working Veterans, both of which are non-profit organizations who aid disabled combat veterans from every branch of service.
"I don't operate alone," Pearsall said. "It really takes a village, and I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with some of the most caring, giving men and women through the many organizations I volunteer for. This award is as much theirs as it is mine."
She singlehandedly funds and photographs veterans for her voluntary project, the Veterans Portrait Project (VPP), which documents military veterans through still photography, motion picture, audio recording and written word. VPP is also a public education movement that provides communities with visual, audible and written accounts of veterans nationwide. The South Carolina series of portraits is on permanent exhibition at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston and was featured during the 2010 Piccolo Spoleto Arts Festival. She continues to amass portraits in other states and has a goal to photograph veterans across the United States. A 100-piece collection of Pearsall's Georgia veterans will be installed and permanently displayed in the newly built Veterans Hospital in Savannah, Ga., this year, and another collection of North Carolina veterans will be on display in Durham, N.C.
In her efforts to raise awareness regarding the unseen wounds of war, Pearsall co-wrote songs about her combat experiences with country music legends Radney Foster, Darden Smith and Jay Clementi. The album titled, "Faces of Freedom" is available in stores and on iTunes. All proceeds supplement the cost of wounded veterans' physical, mental and vocational rehabilitation. Furthermore, her nationwide public service announcements for the Veterans Affairs and Real Warriors Campaign regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) has helped educate millions of Americans so they better understand these post-combat conditions.