Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Iraq War veteran, Fitchburg native filmed at Devens powwow

Iraq War veteran, Fitchburg native filmed at Devens powwow
By Mary E. Arata

Iraqi War veteran Tim Durrin of Great Barrington, center, shakes a tail feather at the inter-tribal powwow on Devens over the weekend. (Nashoba Publishing/Mary Arata)

DEVENS - "Oh Lord, Creator of Mother Earth and the Universe, I have opened my eyes to another day," said Johnny "Paleface" Sarmiento of Granby, age 95 who served in World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Sarmiento's prayer opened the 2-day, inter-tribal powwow on Devens last weekend.

"Please help me by taking away all that is negative," said Sarmiento. "Take away my impatience, intolerance, resentment, denials, anxiety and any other things that are negative within me."

Such spiritual cleansing has become a life journey for Tim Durrin of Great Barrington. Durrin is a Fitchburg native who also has many relatives in Lunenburg. Durrin and his family participated in the gathering to honor his ancestor's Micmac tribal roots.

A 2003 graduate of Montachusett Technical High School, Durrin enlisted in the Army and served in the 101st Airborne Division, 372nd Transportation Company. From 2004 to 2005, Durrin served in Iraq.

Among other atrocities, Durrin lost two fellow soldiers to suicide, and a third unit member who was killed by a roadside bomb. "Every day we were being attacked," said Durrin.

"Don't make me cry," said Durrin's aunt, Chere "Morningsun" Piermarini of Fitchburg. "He's been through a lot in his young life. But we all dream and live."

Durrin returned stateside and began self-medicating to try, in vain, of dealing with his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Following a stint in rehabilitation, Durrin turned both to meditation and back to his Native American roots.
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