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Tom Hall: Addressing Unmet Emotional Needs


Like many Vietnam veterans, Tom Hall’s life journey is varied and impressive. He served as a dog handler in Vietnam with the Army’s 212th Military Police Dog Unit from 1969-71. Upon his separation from the military, Hall returned home to Kansas City, Missouri, and then retreated alone to the woods of south-central Missouri to think about his service in Vietnam.

After a period of solitude and reflection, he returned to Kansas City, where he joined his friend Randy Barnes in organizing the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Hall also enrolled as a psychology major at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He used his academic skills to develop and facilitate rap groups in church basements and library meeting rooms that addressed the unmet emotional and psychological needs of Vietnam veterans in the Kansas City area.

Tom Hall and Randy Barnes became roommates. It doesn’t take much to imagine that curious odd couple. But their commitment to serving Vietnam veterans in the heartland veterans’ community was unquestioned. Then, as the local VVAW chapter began to unravel, Hall did the next best thing. Along with Barnes and twenty-three other Kansas City area Vietnam vets, he became a founding member of VVA Chapter 317 and later served as a chapter board member. Barnes later served on VVA’s National Board.

Since then, Hall’s commitment to serving the mental health needs of veterans has only grown stronger. He earned a Master’s degree in counseling psychology after an internship as a therapist at the Kansas City VA Medical Center, and then received his Ph.D. in 1998. His professional employment record is varied. He served as the principal of an inner-city education center for troubled youth; as the director of treatment services at several rehabilitation centers; as a diagnostician and clinician for both out-patient and in-patient mental health clinics; as a therapist at two medical centers; and as president of the board of a sixty-bed in-patient treatment center.

Hall also has served as a consultant to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, to both the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education, and the Department of Counselor Education and Rehabilitation Programs at Emporia State University. He also has been a board member of the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program and a member of the Director’s Advisory Board at the VA Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. His professional licensures include clinical addictions, as well as marriage and family therapies, and he is a certified teacher (psychology and sociology), guidance counselor, and administrator in the state of Missouri.

Currently, Tom Hall serves as chair and professor of the Addiction Counselor Training Program at Kansas City Kansas Community College, as well as president of the Northeast Kansas Problem Gambling Taskforce in Wyandotte County, Kansas. He continues to see clients in private practice.

His commitment to VVA remains strong. For the past five years he has chaired VVA’s National PTSD and Substance Abuse Committee.

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