Local Focus: Debt of Honor

Jefferson Public Radio and Southern Oregon Public Television will join forces to explore the challenges, triumphs and issues facing disabled veterans in Southern Oregon.  The project is called Local Focus: Debt of Honor. Local Focus: Debt of Honor will be hosted by JPR’s Geoffrey Riley and will feature a panel of local veterans and representatives of community organizations serving veterans. Join JPR in October and November for a series of Jefferson Exchange interviews and Morning Edition features highlighting local veterans’ issues. 

 

Robert Neff/Fifth World Art

A vast array of services is available to veterans of the military. 

But vets can still find themselves between rocks and hard places, temporarily unable to access those services. 

Homeward Bound Military Family Support Services in the Redding area is set up to provide quick, temporary assistance, from food to school. 

Public Domain

One of the signature events in American history is receding in the rear-view mirror: World War II ended 70 years ago now. 

Two Southern Oregon writers are preserving the memories through a couple of separate projects. 

Ashland writer Lynne Hasselman set out to memorialize all the Ashlanders who died during the war, a much harder task than you might assume. 

She writes a series of stories in the Ashland Daily Tidings about her findings, under the title "We Regret to Inform You."   

Convergent Books

Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills promised his wife his third tour of duty in Afghanistan would be his last.  And it was, for all the wrong reasons. 

A bomb exploded, turning Travis into a quadruple amputee. 

Now, with the help of artificial limbs, he walks, runs, dances... and generally lives as normal a life as possible. 

He tells his recovery story with writer Marcus Brotherton in the book Tough As They Come

We welcome SSG Travis Mills to the Exchange. 

Steeplechase Films

The country was scandalized not long ago by the news that the medical system at the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was falling behind in patient care, and falsifying records. 

It was not the first time the country slipped in its commitments to wounded veterans, as pointed out in the documentary film "Debt of Honor."

It premieries Tuesday night (Nov. 10) on PBS, detailing the history of care for disabled veterans in America, and the many times that care has not kept up with needs. 

Director Ric Burns joins us to talk about his project.  

RVVCO

The difficulties of some veterans in returning to civilian life are well-documented. 

What is often missed is the long list of services available for veterans, from government and non-government sources. 

You can put Rogue Valley Veterans and Community Outreach on that second list. 

RVVCO offers programs designed to assist struggling vets in achieving self-sufficiency and independence. 

Executive Director Samantha Brix visits with case managers and clients.   

This is another of several Veteran-related interviews in a joint project between JPR and Southern Oregon Public TV called "Local Focus: Debt of Honor."

Medicinal Missions

The fate of veterans returning home after combat can be downright bleak.  Bleak enough that many commit suicide. 

Doc King and Daniel Egbert, both veterans themselves, fixed on the number 22. 

That's how many veterans commit suicide every day. 

They formed a group called "Medicinal Missions" to address veteran issues, and made a movie called "Project 22." 

The movie shows in White City on November 18th; Daniel and Doc join us to talk about their work.  

This is another of several Veteran-related interviews in a joint project between JPR and Southern Oregon Public TV called "Local Focus: Debt of Honor."

VA.gov

What was once the U.S. Army's sprawling Camp White during World War II became present-day White City.

And a federal presence remained, at the Veterans Administration Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center And Clinics, VA SORCC

What kind of rehabilitation?  Quite a variety, it turns out. 

Catastrophic injuries of body and mind are dealt with; VA prosthetics specialist Randy Tegge talks to us. 

Chris Petrone helps wounded vets reintegrate in society, he joins us as well.

This is another of several Veteran-related interviews in a joint project between JPR and Southern Oregon Public TV called Local Focus: Debt of Honor.

Wikimedia

Military veterans back from service often turn first to the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for many of their needs. 

But plenty of other organizations exist to help vets, including the DAV, Disabled American Vets

DAV exists to help disabled vets on a number of issues, including easing the pursuit of services through the VA. 

Brigitte Marker tells us how the work plays out; she is the Department of Oregon Commander for the DAV.  
 

PBS / Debt of Honor

What does society owe its Veterans? How are Southern Oregon communities responding to the human cost of war? 

Please tell us what you think by completing this brief survey

Everyone's input is valued, and the results will inform collaborative reporting on Jefferson Public Radio and Southern Oregon Public Television

Arcade Publishing

The people who serve in America's all-volunteer military represent a tiny minority, less than one percent of the total population.

And they bear burdens from their service that are often invisible to society at large.

Rogue Valley resident Stacy Bannerman works with and on behalf of Veterans and their families, and gives an unblinking portrait of their challenges in her book Homefront 911: How Families of Veterans Are Wounded by Our Wars

She visits the studio to talk about her work and her book.

This is the first of several Veteran-related interviews in a joint project between JPR and Southern Oregon Public TV called Local Focus: Debt of Honor.

The project includes an optional survey about service connected disabilities and the lives they change.