Since we met Anna Rodriguez and Michael Geiger, we’ve had the honor of meeting many veterans and hearing their stories. We don’t have any friends or family that have served in recent conflicts, and as we’ve listened, we’ve begun to really understand how little support our country really offers returning soldiers.
In the summer of 2013, we received permission from the Indiana Supreme Court to record in the Veterans’ Treatment Court in Porter, Indiana. The Porter VTC is a “special” court in which veterans facing minor charges work a rigorous, integrated program under the supervision of veteran and Judge Julia Jent. The offenses are usually minor — drunk driving, minor battery, etc — but they’re enough to keep a veteran from employment and make reintegration extremely difficult.
Through the VTC program, vets attend court regularly, check in with substance abuse and mental health counselors, and receive help navigating the VA. It’s a holistic approach that is, in short, like nothing we’ve encountered.
We need your support to help follow a few soldiers through their time in the VTC — to see how they fare, and if the program can help them find a new way after their own homecomings.
When you give to NPR or your local public radio station, you’re supporting a great network of stations and reporters — but we are expected fund our work independently. That’s not an easy task. Few private foundations fund radio, and even the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has ended direct support of independent production companies like ours.