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StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.

Colorado Veteran's Voices: A KUNC News Special

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Eric Lynch
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Flickr

There are over 22 million veterans living in the U.S. today, but the number of Americans that say they know someone who has served in the armed services is shrinking. For the past month, KUNC and our partners at the Storycorps Military Voices Initiative and Harvest Public Media have been telling just a few of those stories. We learned about the struggles and the triumphs of Colorado’s veterans.

Love in War: Allen & Allis Gilbert

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Credit StoryCorps
Allis and Allen Gilbert at StoryCorps

Army Maj. Roy ‘Allen’ Gilbert and his wife, retired Army Capt. Allis Gilbert, deployed separately to Iraq in 2007. For the next few years, contact was sporadic and difficult for the newlyweds, until they found a way to stay together. They sat down with StoryCorps earlier this year and told their story, starting from the day they met. 

Colorado Veteran's Voices: A KUNC News Special
"You literally went to war for me." Allis Gilbert interviews her husband, Allen.

Allis separated from active duty in 2011 as a captain of the Army. She now works in the nonprofit sector. Maj. Gilbert is currently serving in the Army Reserves and works as a geographic information systems analyst. They have a daughter and live in Fort Collins. 

Peace on the Farm: Ben & Leticia Ward

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Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC/Harvest Public Media
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KUNC/Harvest Public Media

For many veterans, returning home from war is a tough transition. Some find a new sense of purpose in the field, tending to vegetables or livestock. KUNC and Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon has this profile of one couple who decided to try farming after spending years in war zones.

Colorado Veteran's Voices: A KUNC News Special
Luke Runyon visits veteran farmers.

Starting a Conversation: Thomas & Lila Chandler

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Credit StoryCorps
Thomas and Lila Chandler at StoryCorps

Thomas Chandler, 46, was first commissioned by the U.S. Marines in 1991. Twenty-five years later, he now teaches middle school mathematics in Fort Collins, and serves in the Marine Corps Reserves. He recently sat down to impart some of the lessons he learned with his 7-year-old daughter, Lila.  

Colorado Veteran's Voices: A KUNC News Special
"Tell me about your military service." Lila Chandler interviews her dad, Thomas Chandler

Thomas and Lila Chandler live in Fort Collins. Lila is in second grade. 

Seeking Treatment

18 states allow for the use of medical marijuana to treat symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Despite leading the way on marijuana policy, Colorado is not one of those states. Many veterans who use marijuana to treat their symptoms find themselves at odds with state health leaders, who say there’s not enough research available to make the case. KUNC’s Ann Marie Awad explores both sides of the debate.

Colorado Veteran's Voices: A KUNC News Special
KUNC's Ann Marie Awad reports on why PTSD is not among the conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana in Colorado.

Those Left Behind: Ian & Fiona Walsh

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Credit StoryCorps
Fiona and Ian Walsh at StoryCorps

Sometimes the voice we most want to hear is the one missing, the void left in a family when a loved one is lost in combat. Marine Sgt. Nick Walsh was killed in Iraq at the age of 27, leaving his wife, two sons, parents, and three siblings to reckon with the loss. He died the same day his younger brother, Ian, graduated high school. This is the year Ian Walsh turned 27. He joined his younger sister, Fiona, 14, to remember their older brother.

Colorado Veteran's Voices: A KUNC News Special
"When he died, my life took sort of a tailspin." Fiona and Ian Walsh remember their brother, Nick.

Ian and Fiona Walsh live in Fort Collins.

 

Music:

  • Alina’s Place - Fedrik
  • Your Hand in Mine - Explosions in the Sky
  • Podington Bear - Park Bench
  • Chris Zabriskie - Nirvana VEVO
  • Chris Zabriskie - The Temperature of the Air on the Bow of the Kaleetan
  • Chris Zabriskie - Cylinder Two