Special to The Public Record

Military Veterans Want to Talk with Civilians

After he heard about Vet Mentor, a new program run by The Veterans Project that connects military veterans seeking a career in the entertainment/media industry with experienced professionals, Marine vet Rick Reyes contacted me about his creative aspirations. We quickly found common ground. Rick told me of his interest in comedy, and I told him I felt it necessary to infuse our advocacy with a dose of humor so as to humanize post-combat warriors and reach as much of the public as possible.

Rick agreed and added he’s reluctant to express anger about anything, because many people mistakenly see it as a scary byproduct of war when he gets agitated in even the most ordinary way. Struck by his longing to just be treated as a normal person, I suggested we take a camera out on the streets and present passersby with the opportunity to interact with a recent combat veteran.

We only had time to chat with a few people, but it got us thinking about producing a series of “Talk to a Vet” videos as a means of promoting dialogue between civilians and veterans in everyday life. Thanks to filmmaker Robert Corsini for shooting the footage.

Jeff Norman is the Director of The Veterans Project, a non-profit group that promotes and supports organizations that help veterans – primarily those who fought in Iraq and/or Afghanistan – reintegrate into society when they come home. Its mission is to help remove the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress, and to raise operating funds for organizations providing psychological care and job training to veterans in the aftermath of war. He blogs at Citizen Jeff. He can be reached at jeff@citizenjeff.com.

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