Veterans

Jerry Tovo (Courtesy Missouri History Museum)

 During the Vietnam War, Jerry Tovo was a drill sergeant, training soldiers to go to war. After he left the military, Tovo became a professional photographer, specializing in advertising. But in 2011, he took his photography in a less commercial direction--photographing homeless veterans across the country.

Tovo's motivation for the project originated with an understanding of the problems that can lead to homelessness  among veterans.

(via Flickr/U.S. Army Garrison, Miami)

At first glance, veterans of the post 9/11 wars and St. Louis youth in high crime neighborhoods don't have much in common. But two things unite them: both are considered at-risk and both can have a tough time finding jobs.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Military veterans from across the nation are in St. Louis this weekend to receive training and take part in community improvement efforts.

The more than 80 veterans were joined by hundreds of community volunteers on Saturday to spruce up the Boys and Girls Club in north St. Louis City, building a picnic area, installing a new track and putting a fresh coat of paint on community areas. 

(via Flickr/KurtClark)

Memorial Day is one of just a couple days a year in which attention is brought specifically to veterans.

While the remembrance earlier this week is a reminder of veterans’ service to the country, the issues and needs associated with returning veterans is an ongoing issue.  Many veterans struggle with health and emotional issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), have difficulty finding jobs and trouble finding a new normalcy in civilian life.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the wait time for veterans to receive benefits has skyrocketed from 116 days in 2009 to 330 days now. In response, US Representative Bill Enyart is sponsoring legislation to try to reduce that wait.

What the bill would do is pay partial, provisional benefits for veterans whose cases aren't handled within 125 days after they are submitted. Currently, that would apply to more than half a million veterans.

(via Flickr/KurtClark)

As of May 6, 2013, there were 19,900 veterans waiting to hear a response from the St. Louis Regional VA "about compensation for a disease, injury or illness linked to service in the military."

Where does that number, and classification of it, come from? The Center for Investigative Reporting has released a huge set of data (which is periodically updated) from the nation's Department of Veterans' Affairs and its local offices.  

U.S. VETS

Making the transition from the military to civilian life can be difficult. 

Many veterans come out of the military with combat trauma, a condition which must be dealt with before they can move on.  And many don’t admit their condition for fear their discharge will be delayed or they won’t be able to get jobs needing a security clearance or jobs in law enforcement. 

Only a fraction of those with combat trauma register with a VA hospital.

Jeff D. Corrigan

The Missouri Veterans History Project is a not-for-profit organization which seeks to capture the oral history of as many Missouri veterans as possible.

According to the group’s website, “Our nation’s veterans each have a unique perspective to share about our history. First-hand recollections of their service provide a richer and more personal context to historical accounts.”

Robert Peterson / St. Louis Public Radio

The transition from active military service to civilian life can challenge veterans and put a strain on a city’s homelessness resources.

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

In September 1944, just nine days before his 23rd birthday, 1st Lt. Don Nicholson boarded the B-17 bomber known as “Little Chum” for a run over Germany. It was his 26th mission navigating the plane referred to as the "flying fortress."

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