The mission is to offer solace
and satisfaction to veterans through the art of writing.
And our vision is that someday everyone will understand how
valuable writing is and how much solace and satisfaction writing can offer people if they’ll just try it. This project began as Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project because primarily we worked in VA hospitals strictly.
As I came along it was at the time when things were
becoming more outpatient. And so
I kind of arbitrarily just accepted material from people
who were served by the VA. Many times veterans pick up a
magazine that maybe they see in a waiting room and a VA Medical
Center hospital doctor’s waiting room – they pick up a
magazine and it inspires them to write. Sometimes I read them just when I’m not feeling the best
or if I’m having a funk then I go to Veterans Voices and I’m like these other veterans from all over the world,
different eras – that they’re expressing themselves. And it opens my mind up to say, “Hey if they can express
themselves then I should be able to express myself as well. I didn’t really realize that I was that I was dealing with
post traumatic stress until probably 2009, closer to
when I was getting out. And it got real bad once I
actually got out of the military because I don’t
think there was that bond with all my friends and my
brothers and stuff. So I didn’t have anybody to talk to. It was just me and my wife and my dog and they’ll listen but they
can’t really relate. So Veterans Voices
is like walking into… the magazine is like walking
into a large room filled with veterans
and they all have stories. Veterans Voices gives
the opportunity to veterans to voice their
feelings, their stresses, their frustrations. There are some 22 veterans who commit suicide every day.
That’s a large body count for soldiers who have gone
off to war, come back and then
taking their lives because of some
silent you-know crisis going on inside them.
I don’t think I’d still be here if I didn’t start
writing as soon as I did. Because there were some dark
times where I didn’t really know if I was gonna make it to the next day or not. And writing kind of helped
me get off that cliff and back to reality. The key really is to try to find somebody who
wants to encourage the veterans to write. That they can write,
they have the opportunity if they want to be published or
would like an opportunity. I do it because of the
guys that we serve. They’re an incredible bunch. Some of them are practically my pen pals and my telephone pals. Karen from Las Vegas, NV wrote “Your program is so helpful to all of us who get our work
published in the magazine. For some of us it is very difficult
to talk about things, but easier to write about the problems we face.
Thank you for all you do to help us.” And then Rich from Neenah, WI wrote “I do understand how writing can
act as a therapy tool and for just entertainment or fun. I laugh and I cry with each issue I read. Veterans Voices is powerful.” You’re a veteran, you have a voice. Say something Dont just keep it in
let people know your stories.