The forgotten heroes…

dSavannah note: So, the last time I had a ‘spate’ of blogging was in April (APRIL!), due to my chronic illnesses and brain fog and depression, oh my. But I actually wrote {runs to check} erm, 19 (really?!? really!) drafts, so I’m gonna try to semi-polish them up (telling my perfectionism to take a hike) and go ahead and publish them. In no particular order. So here’s the first. Likely errors included.


Mike Rowe (of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” fame) has a new series on Facebook (the platform is apparently getting into developing content now; the next step for them, I guess) called “Returning the Favor“.

The premise is similar to the one for “Dirty Jobs” – except instead of finding people doing the truly dirty jobs in our country, Mike and his crew look for people doing good.

According the Facebook page, “Follow host Mike Rowe as he travels the country in search of remarkable people making a difference in their communities. Returning the Favor gives back to those who pay it forward with humor, heart and surprise. Because one good turn deserves another.”

The first episode, S1:E1 Operation Combat Bikesaver, all 20 minutes of it, finds Mike and his crew in Indiana “to surprise Jason, a former Army engineer who runs a therapeutic bike building program for veterans.

All of that is great.

All of that is wonderful.

Programs to help veterans deal with their re-entry into society after their military service are few and far between, and Jason is someone actually doing something to help those veterans. To try to stem the tide of 20+ veterans who commit suicide every.single.day.

But… the program forgot about some heroes that society, in general, seems to forget: the spouses and families of those who serve our country. Ones who are also affected by what the person in the military experiences. Ones who are indelibly marked by that trauma.

I posted this letter on the Facebook wall with the episode on 09/15/17. There has been zero response thus far. None. Nothing. Zilch. From no one.

So, I’m posting the letter here, in the hopes that the families will be remembered too, and included in the conversation.

(And FYI, I have a lot of respect for Mike Rowe and his ideas.)


Dear Mike,

First, I want to say that I love the concept of “Returning the Favor” and giving back to people who give so much of themselves to their communities.

Second, I watched with interest the “Operation Combat Bikesaver” episode of the new show, and was moved to tears at the good work that Jason is doing to help veterans with PTSD, and all the people your show gathered to allow him to do even more.

But I was also highly, highly disappointed.

dadinuniform

My father in uniform, during the Vietnam War. What he experienced molded me to this day. I still pay for the trauma he experienced, and that he then inflicted on his family.

A huge swathe of people who are just as important to the security of our nation, one you didn’t even give a nod to, is military and veteran spouses and families.

You didn’t interview Jason’s wife. I don’t even remember if you mentioned her name. You didn’t ask how Jason’s military experiences shape their marriage. How she feels about what he’s doing now, about his ministry. Just that she “distracted him at home” for the surprise. And I guarantee that he wouldn’t be able to do that work without his wife’s help.

You didn’t interview any of the wives of any of the veterans. You didn’t ask any of them how they were effected by what happened to their loved one, and how they deal with the ramifications that continue to plague that person. How the program had helped them, even without being directly involved.

You showed the wife and children of your “inside man”, but didn’t name them either. Or discuss what she felt about helping with the show, or the program, or how she deals with the demons her husband brought home.

As the daughter, grand-daughter, and great-grand-daughter of veterans, I constantly feel forgotten about, just as you ‘forgot’ about Jason’s wife. About the sacrifices she made, and continues to make, as the spouse of a veteran. About the sacrifices all military spouses and families make when one of their family is deployed for any reason. About the PTSD those family members can endure (and yes, that I endure) when dealing with the physical and mental traumas suffered by their loved ones.

I know you are supportive of all genders, so I hope this was simply an oversight in this particular episode.

But please, don’t forget about the ones who keep the home fires burning while the spouse is away, and then keep the fire from going out of control when they come home. Don’t forget the huge favor all of us are owed too.


Do you agree? Do you remember us at all?

Please don’t just thank a veteran. Thank their families as well.

More ramblings / other posts you might want to read...

dSavannah

About dSavannah

~ disabled #spoonie fighting numerous, chronic, painful #InvisibleIllnesses ~ when my brain & body cooperate: #writer #editor #artist & #bibliophile ~ also #feminist #ally
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