HOPE Beyond Trauma Speaking Engagement at the 2nd Annual Voice of the Mountains Conference 2012, El Paso, TX

By Janie Smith, Founder, Author, Speaker, Trauma Coach

Tanya and I had a super time presenting the Luncheon Keynote at the 2nd Annual Voice of the Mountains Conference in El Paso, TX for Speech Language Pathologists. This was a very special trip back in time for us since El Paso was our first duty station after Richard and I married, where Tanya was born, then many years later in 1989, as a teenager Tanya sustained severe brain injuries in an automobile accident and where Richard retired after 22 years of military service.  It was an emotional trip back to a place with so many memories that at times for me was overwhelming.

Our invitation to be at this special event came from Amanda Trujillo-Lazcano, who is a Speech Language Pathologist in El Paso. Amanda lost her best friend that fateful day when Maria Lawson died in the same accident that severely injured Tanya. Even though we had never met, Amanda had always wondered what happened to Tanya after we moved away in 1990. She is an amazing woman and it’s no wonder her and Maria were best friends.

We were so happy to be able to reunite with Colleen Akers, Tanya’s home-bound teacher and Mr. and Mrs. Merle Lawson (Maria’s parents). We spent time together laughing, crying and catching up on the many years that had passed and the many changes that had taken place. As a complete surprise to all of us, Sandra Doyle, Tanya’s Speech Language Pathologist at Rio Vista Rehabilitation Hospital was in the audience! All of them could not believe how far Tanya has progressed and how well she is doing today.

Tanya gave a passionate speech about her struggles after the accident that held everyone’s attention. She told her own story of extreme anger which led to violent outbursts and the struggles of getting to know the “new Tanya” that had emerged from the accident. I followed up with my own personal challenges as a full-time caregiver, my nervous breakdowns and how it impacted our family.

We told of our current trials with our youngest son, SSG Terry A. Smith, and his family’s battle with Post Traumatic Stress after serving six tours in this war on terror. The audience felt our passion in wanting to help others through our personal story of HOPE BEYOND TRAUMA and gave us warm heartfelt standing ovation.

We want to thank Lou Ann Rosario, the Event Coordinator at the Education Service Center- Region 19/Special Education in El Paso, TX for organizing an outstanding conference and allowing us to share our story of HOPE BEYOND TRAUMA. If you need a speaker on the topic of “trauma” we would love to speak at your event. Please check out our website at https://hopebeyondtrauma.com Contact us at janie@hopebeyondtrauma.com Phone: 707-322-5084 for further information. My book, HOPE BEYOND TRAUMA…a mother’s journey is available for purchase at our website, amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com

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