Acting Vets

Coming back from deployment, Sergeant Matt Pennington was hurting. He had lost his leg and had suffered other bodily harm. And he needed something to right himself mentally. That something may be acting:

After his third deployment, Sgt. Matthew Pennington, 28, returned to his home in Dexter, Me., where he is recovering from both physical and psychological traumas.

For Mr. Pennington, medications seemed to worsen his depression and therapy did not ease his anxiety. He seemed headed for divorce, isolation and perhaps alcoholism. And there his story might have ended, a case study on the intransigence of war’s psychological scars. But it did not end there.

In 2009, an unexpected opportunity landed in his e-mail inbox: a casting call, forwarded by a friend in Nashville, from an undergraduate filmmaker looking for someone to play a combat veteran who had lost a leg, had post-traumatic stress disorder and lived in Maine.

This is my life, Mr. Pennington thought.

I love stories of perseverance. And I certainly look forward to seeing the good SGT’s movie.