Beginning last month, in the days immediately before Independence Day, a riveting series called "In Their Boots" laced up and hit the Internet for the first time. It offers the nation's 99.5% of non-serving civilians an intimate portrait into the struggles and successes of our military families today.
Ever since its first webcast, host Jan Bender (an Iraq vet and Marine himself) and the Brave New Foundation team have been broadcasting a new live and interactive episode every Wednesday night at 4pm Pacific/7pm Eastern. Each week, viewers are invited to listen to the stories of Iraq and Afghanistan service and family members, learn about the groups and organizations that are helping them, and then called to help in some way as well.
This week's episode ("War Scar"), airing on August 27, 2008, introduces us to Jerry Cortinas, "a Green Beret in the U.S. Army Special Forces from 1997 to 2004. The focused and challenging work of a Green Beret was what he knew and what he loved. While operating a rocket propelled grenade in Afghanistan in December 2002, the device malfunctioned and exploded, taking his left forearm and hand. Jerry could no longer do his job. He felt like an outsider in his own hometown."
Jerry's wife, Celina, paints a portrait of a strong (yet still made of flesh and blood and feelings and prides and hurts like the rest of us) Army wife, now faced with "the challenge of helping her husband adapt to civilian life and supporting him as he returned to his role as husband and father" to their two kids.
Lonnie C. Moore, a Program Analyst with the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Office, will also appear. The trailer:
Past episodes appear at the "In Their Boots" website and host Jan Bender's YouTube page. I've included the general series trailer and Episodes 5 and 6, which focused on post-traumatic stress disorder specifically, in extended.
"In Their Boots" series trailer:
About Episodes 5 and 6: "When [Army soldier] Domonicque Tatum returned from Iraq he expected to be treated like a hero, instead he found himself homeless and suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress." Episode 5 includes interviews with Mary Tatum Chappell, Domonicque's mother, and Floyd 'Shad' Meshad, Founder and President of the National Veterans Foundation, while episode 6 closes with Matt Randle, Institutional Outreach Coordinator of Vets4Vets.