Retired Lt. Col. Scott Man is hoping his play “Last Out: Elegy of a Green Beret” will give the audience a glimpse into the mindset of a veteran returning from war.
The play will be presented Saturday at Shearer Hall at Mitchell Community College on April 27 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 and are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/last-out-elegy-of-a-green-beret-tickets-58875575431. It is presented by The Heroes Journey, a non-profit founded by Mann.
Mann spent more than two decades in the military – 18 as a Green Beret – and leaving the military presented challenges he didn’t anticipate. “People didn’t understand,” he said.
Mann, who founded and runs a successful motivational business called Rooftop Leadership, delved into writing “Last Out” about two years ago.
Mann said he wrote the play from the viewpoint of a veteran, Danny Patton, as he returns home from a war zone.
“You get into the mind of Danny Patton,” he said. “It’s a white-knuckle ride.”
“Last Out” tells the story off Patton’s life over a 10-year period, Mann said. And unlike many productions concerning war and veterans, Mann said, this is strictly from the time Patton returns home and his dealing with post-traumatic stress.
He said he hopes veterans find comfort in the play.
A local non-profit, Operation Angel Wing, is behind the performance of “Last Out” in Statesville.
Mary Millsaps, who along with her family, started Operation Angel Wing, said she felt “Last Out” will help bring attention to veterans and first responders and raise awareness of resources.
“This is a unique collaboration,” she said. “Most of the time you don’t see this happen. We are pooling our resources. We have the same desire and mission to help.”
Millsaps said Operation Angel Wing is dedicated to helping veterans and first responders with resources to deal with post-traumatic stress. As a former paramedic, Millsaps said, she understands there is a stigma attached to a diagnosis of PTS and it’s mislabeled as a mental disorder.
Instead, she said, PTS should be looked at as an injury. “We treat it as a traumatic injury,” she said.
She said her family is the driving force behind Operation Angel Wing.
“I am the daughter of a combat veteran and my husband is the son of a veteran,” she said.
Operation Angel Wing, which formed nearly a year ago, is the Millsaps’ family’s way of paying back, she said. “We are continuing to fight for our veterans and first responders,” she said.
Mann said Millsaps’ dedication to bringing veterans’ issues to light is one of the main reasons for partnering with the organization on “Last Out.”
The cast and crew, in addition to Mann who plays Danny Patton, are Ame Livingston (Lynn Patton), Bryan Bachman (Caiden Patton) and Leonard Bruce (Kenny Suggins). Zeke Vanderpool, a retired U.S. Army Special Operations veteran, will perform the music for the play.
Mann said “Last Out” is a story many people don’t know about military service. “You’ve heard about first in, but now you’ll hear about last out,” he said.
WANT TO GO?
“Last Out: Elegy of a Green Beret” will be performed on April 27 at 6 p.m. Saturday in Shearer Hall at Mitchell Community College. Tickets are $30 and are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/last-out-elegy-of-a-green-beret-tickets-58875575431.