This month, we’re honoring public media stations’ commitment to serving local veterans on our blog. We invited Malcolm Brett, Director of Broadcast and Media Innovations, Wisconsin Public Television, to discuss Veterans Coming Home, a national public media project, led by his station, that celebrates and honors veterans’ service and tells their stories.
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Earlier this week, in honor of Veterans Day, our nation saluted a new generation of service members along with their predecessors. Many post 9/11 veterans are in the process of readjusting to life “back home,” a transition that can be challenging and stressful. In addition, far too many of them are unaware of the resources available to assist them – and the valuable support that exists within their own communities.
Did you know that public media is making a difference helping veterans and their families? And it is, through an inspirational national project called Veterans Coming Home.
Through compelling national and local TV and radio programming, public media celebrates and honors veterans’ service and tells authentic stories about veterans, their challenges and their triumphs.
Drawing on deep community connections, local stations link veterans with the resources and services they need. Public media’s authenticity and deep well of trust make us ideal partners for other community organizations. We can bring veterans and civilians together for dialogues that deepen understanding and, with our partners, open doors to meaningful community engagement.
This is precisely what Veterans Coming Home has been doing, and addressing, since last April. With financial support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Veterans Coming Home has supported 13 grantee stations – in communities from Massachusetts to Florida, in cities from Detroit to San Antonio – as they developed services and built relationships to assist veterans and their local communities. These public media entities are deepening this engagement every day, complementing their work with veterans via broadcast, online content and face-to-face meetings to maximize local impact.
In doing so, these Veterans Coming Home stations are raising the profile of veterans’ issues and opportunities, supporting veterans’ employment and workforce development efforts, connecting veterans to service organizations and sharing veterans’ experiences, often in their own voices.
I am proud to say that my local station, Wisconsin Public Television (WPT), has been instrumental in this effort. My WPT colleagues and I know that engaging veterans is important because we’ve been at the forefront of public media’s efforts to highlight veterans’ stories since 2005. Beginning with a major effort to tell the largely untold stories of Wisconsin’s World War II veterans, we forged a beneficial and long standing partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. Award-winning programs focusing on the stories of Korean and Vietnam vets soon followed.
We became key players in supporting Wisconsin veterans of all generations in their reintegration to civilian life. And by capturing and telling veterans’ stories, we’ve been able to help the people of Wisconsin to better understand the veteran experience.
In the process, we’ve helped connect more veterans with the opportunities and resources they need to continue serving their communities as civilians. Public media’s commitment to, and work with, veterans is not only important. It’s essential. It bridges the Military-Civilian divide. It eases the transition. It strengthens the community. Public media enables new veterans to reintegrate, re-establish and prosper.
There is still more work to be done. Veterans Day continues on a daily basis after November 11 for those who’ve served the nation. And it’s another opportunity for us to deliver on our commitment to them by communicating veterans’ stories, recognizing veterans for their service and collaborating with other community-based organizations to connect veterans with resources, support and opportunities.
Please join the effort to support our nation’s veterans. Visit our website.”Like” us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. If you have something you’d like to share with us on Twitter, use the hashtag: #VetsComingHome.