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My St. Louis VA, Part 3: 'Getting Back to People'

The stories of St. Louis-area veterans are featured in a three-part series.
Monica Ramirez | St. Louis Public Radio
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The stories of St. Louis-area veterans are featured in a three-part series.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Mission Continues fellow and former U.S. Army combat correspondent Monica Ramirez and production engineer Aaron Doerr took us through the final part of a three part series about veterans getting health care and related services through the St. Louis VA Health Care System.

Through sound-rich narration and storytelling, we heard the perspectives of eight local veterans and their families as they weighed in on what is troubling, isolating, encouraging, and healing about the VA.

In Part One – Hoops & Cracks we heard local veterans share their stories about what appears to them as major problems with the health care system for veterans.

In Part Two – Fighting To Get Help we heard veterans and their families talk about their often unsettling experience getting health care from their doctors and also about the importance of family caregiving.

In Part Three – Getting Back to People veterans shared what they think actually helps them transition to civilian life after returning home from combat: a sense of love and belonging.

 

It’s just, ‘Hello, thank you for your service, bye.’ It’s more than that. It’s about caring for fellow human beings who did something that most people don’t want to do. - Jonathan Hurly, former U.S. Marine

Many veterans find a sense of love and belonging from within the VA's social groups – especially those that offer peer support and mentoring to their fellow war veterans.

Among the many organizations that assist veterans are Team Red White and Blue, Team Rubicon, and The Mission Continues, prove that today’s VA isn’t your grandfather’s VA. It’s become a combination of social organizations that engage the communities they’re in. And if they’re doing it right, it only gets even better from here.

 

They know how to treat us better than they do out here. They’ve walked the path we’ve walked. It’s actually what I plan on doing when I complete this program. - Brian Duncan, former combat engineer

If you or your loved one has experiences with the VA we’d like to hear them! Tweet us @STLonAir or email us at talk@stlpublicradio.org. Visit the series archive here or by searching St. Louis Public Radio for “MY ST LOUIS VA.”

Music Heard In Part 3:

  • Blood Sandwich - Instrumental (Aesop Rock)
  • Broken Monitors (B Fleischmann)
  • Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart (Chris Cornell instrumental piano cover by Jen Msumba)
  • Rangleline (Magnolia Summer)
  • Sky High (Ben Folds Five)
  • Lately (CaveofSwords)
  • Loud Pipes (Ratatat)

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Aaron’s first glimpse into the world of audio production came during his high school band practices in the 90’s when they recorded themselves for reference and, later, for early social media websites - think Myspace and Napster. But as the oldest child with access to the family video camera it was actually in the late 80’s when Aaron first began playing with video production experimenting with perspective illusions, stop and start techniques and sound effects in homemade videos with siblings and friends. The fun he had as a kid got serious in college when a Practicum in Radio class at UMSL introduced him to the professional world of radio and audio production - right here at 90.7 KWMU.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.