Then there are stories that really become a passion. This is one of those for me.
After finishing my first documentary for PBS last fall, I walked away having heard a common thread from a great many journalists and veterans alike: what happens to our veterans after they get home? Do they get their jobs back? Do they find happiness in their relationships? How do the ones with PTSD cope with being "normal" again?
That's how "The Long Road Home" came to be. Fortunately, I have a newsroom with leaders who support my projects.
My idea was to find a cross-section of local troops who returned from battle to share what they're feeling and facing. Included in the series is a couple struggling to reconnect after a 17-month separation, a college student who feels like a loner after serving on the front lines of the initial invasion, a local entrepreneur who used his writing to help him overcome the pain he left behind in Iraq, and a single mother trying to adapt to managing two little kids again after spending a year supervising dozens of soldiers.
I'm hoping that other veterans and their families will see these stories and know that they're not alone. I'm also hoping that those who've found success with the transition will share those techniques and programs that worked for them.
My thanks to WKYC assignment editor Dani Fink who took me down memory lane in her blog. Dani is a doll to work with .. and she really knows her stuff. I had no idea that she had hung on to some of the old photos I sent back from the dessert in 2003-04.
Anyway, if you're a Facebook person, you can find a link to the series on a special page there. Most of all, I hope you'll give the series a look .. and that we all can be sensitive and supportive of the hundreds of local troops and their families who are indeed on "The Long Road Home."
Thanks for listening .. Eric