Military Voices Initiative

5:47am

Sat September 14, 2013
StoryCorps

Hotline Responders Answer Veterans' Desperate Calls

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:43 am

Rich Barham, left, and Nelson Peck are both veterans working for the Veterans Crisis Line.
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Responders at the Veterans Crisis Line work to help veterans through their darkest hours. The Department of Veterans Affairs runs the hotline, the only national line dedicated to helping veterans in crisis.

A report in February was the most comprehensive to date from the VA on veterans and suicide. As of that publication, the Crisis Line had made approximately 26,000 rescues of actively suicidal veterans.

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5:49am

Sat August 10, 2013
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How Two Veterans Helped Each Other With A Second Chance

Originally published on Sun August 11, 2013 5:43 am

Marine Cpl. Paul Wayman, left, and former Navy SEAL Nathanael Roberti met through a program in California that helps veterans readjust to civilian life.
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Marine Cpl. Paul Wayman and former Navy SEAL Nathanael Roberti met in 2012, after finding themselves in front of a special court for veterans.

The court takes into account the specific struggles that service members face, so the judge gave each of them a choice: go to prison, or enroll in a program that helps veterans readjust to civilian life.

They chose to go through the program, Veterans Village of San Diego, located in a California live-in facility.

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3:52am

Sat July 13, 2013
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Brothers Lost On Deployment; Sister Mourns 'Soul Mates'

Originally published on Sat July 13, 2013 11:22 am

Monica Velez and her two brothers, Freddy (left) and Andrew, in 1996. Freddy died in Iraq in 2004, and Andrew died in Afghanistan in 2006.
Courtesy of Monica Velez

Cpl. Jose "Freddy" Velez served in Iraq. His brother, Spc. Andrew Velez, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Both died in their early 20s. They are survived by their sister, Monica.

"My mom left us when I was 7, so my dad was a single parent," Monica says. "And I did all the household chores. I got the boys dressed for school, I taught them how to ride their bike, I taught them how to read and write."

One of her favorite memories is when both brothers came back from basic training and told her she could no longer be bossy.

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11:54am

Sat May 25, 2013
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Sole Survivor: Iraq Rescue Mission Ended In Tragedy

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 1:52 pm

In 2005, Lance Cpl. Travis Williams lost his squad to an IED. He was the only survivor.
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Lance Cpl. Travis Williams, 29, is an Iraq War veteran — and the only post-9/11 Marine to lose every other member of his 12-man squad. It happened in August 2005, when Williams and his teammates were sent on a rescue mission in Barwanah, Iraq.

"That morning, we loaded into the vehicle," Williams recalls. "And I get tapped on the shoulder, and I got told that I need to bounce up to the next vehicle. I said, 'Catch you guys on the flipside.' And that was the last thing I ever said to them."

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6:32am

Sat April 13, 2013
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A Pianist's Ultimate Sacrifice: Giving It All To Go To War

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 2:25 pm

Staff Sgt. Daniel Hodd on deployment in Anbar Province, Iraq, 2008.
Courtesy of Daniel Hodd

In 2001, Daniel Hodd was 17 and starting a promising career as a concert pianist. But he also wanted to become a U.S. Marine.

"At 3 years of age, you walked over to the piano, and you just started playing," Evelyn Hodd tells her son.

He played until he was 17 and performed in the Metropolitan Opera Theater. Juilliard offered him a scholarship. But Daniel decided to go to the military instead. He enlisted in 2002 and deployed to Iraq in 2003.

"That was devastating for me. And then, you had an accident," his mother says.

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