New Mexico History Museum

After Action: Talking Service for Veterans

August 21, 2014


Santa Fe Community College and the New Mexico History Museum are bringing a national program for veterans to Santa Fe. Using the Great Books Foundation’s “Talking Service” program, the free four-week reading and discussion group uses literature to help veterans talk about their service and their experiences coming home. After Action: Talking Service for Veterans begins in the History Museum’s Meem Community Room on September 27 and runs four Saturdays, from 2–3:30 pm, through October 18. Space is limited. To register, call SFCC’s Continuing Education Department at 505-428-1676.

This partnership is supported by the New Mexico Humanities Council, which is mounting similar programs across the state.

Veterans participating in the program will use the anthology, Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian, which contains excerpts from writers across history on various aspects of war. Selections come from authors like Homer, Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway, Ernie Pyle and Margaret Atwood, along with poetry and prose by veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Retired 1st Sgt. Phillip Chavez, director of the Santa Fe Vet Center, will guide the veterans through discussions of selected readings.

“Even though we have a small population, New Mexicans have served in all of our nation’s conflicts, from the Mexican-American War to the recent actions in the Middle East and Southwest Asia,” said Jon Hunner, interim director of the New Mexico History Museum. “The History Museum staff is honored to help explore the contributions that these men and women have made.”

“SFCC is honored to partner with the New Mexico History Museum to serve our veterans,” said Randy W. Grissom, interim president of SFCC. “Our Veterans Resource Center has built an awareness of the support we provide at the college for veterans to achieve their education goals. The Talking Service program is a powerful tool to reach out to veterans and support their transition to creating productive lives in our Santa Fe community.”

Since 1947, the Great Books Foundation has helped hundreds of thousands of people form discussion groups based on literature. The nonprofit, based in Chicago, has also created courses on the Shared Inquiry method of learning to improve critical thinking, reading comprehension, vocabulary and writing skills.


What: After Action: Talking Service for Veterans, a collaborative program from Santa Fe Community College and the New Mexico History Museum that uses literature to help veterans talk about their service and coming home.

Who: Open to all New Mexico veterans; space is limited. Moderator: Phillip Chavez, a retired 1st Sgt. Desert Storm/Iraqi Freedom disabled combat veteran who served in the U.S. Navy and Army National Guard from 1979 to 2007. Chavez holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice and is currently pursuing an MSW degree. He is the director of the Santa Fe Vet Center.

When: Four Saturdays: September 27 through October 18, 12:30-2 p.m.

Where: Meem Community Room, New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Avenue.

Registration: Space is limited. Call SFCC’s Continuing Education Department at 505-428-1676 to enroll. (Talking Service Course Info: CR 400 01, CRN21844.)

For more on the national Talking Service program, visit



Gregory Scargall, SFCC Veterans Resource Center, at 505-428-1305. To learn more about SFCC’s Veterans Resource Center, go to

Kate Nelson, New Mexico History Museum, 505-476-5019, 505-554-5722

Laura J. Mulry, Santa Fe Community College, 505-428-1776, 505-946-7980

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