Arkansas Veterans Coming Home
"Veterans Coming Home" is an innovative cross-platform public media campaign exploring "what works" for veterans as they return to civilian life – exploring the challenges and sharing the success stories of veterans who are making a difference in the workplace, on campus and in their communities. This campaign is a collaborative, multiplatform public media project between Wisconsin Public Television and Kindling Group in partnership with local stations and other national organizations.
AETN is producing five new digital shorts featuring Arkansas veterans and their connected support organizations that will also premiere each week. A one-hour special broadcast that includes the locally produced Arkansas veterans' stories will premiere Monday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m.
In addition to the digital campaign, a veterans appreciation event will be held Monday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, 503 E 9th St., Little Rock. The digital shorts produced by AETN for this project will be screened during the event.
Initiative Areas of Focus
Health, featuring the original digital short "Ain't Dead Yet." Anthony Smith is an RPG explosion survivor. After losing his arm and learning to walk again, he made his way to owning and instructing a martial arts dojo in Northeast Arkansas. With intense physical therapy and deep family support, he finds renewed strength and purpose through teaching martial arts and training for the 2020 U.S. Paralympic team.
Purpose, featuring the original digital short "Sowing Salvation." After multiple tours in Iraq, Terrell "Spence" Spencer seeks peace through working the land in Northwest Arkansas – and through helping other veterans to heal through farming. Inspired to pursue farming after witnessing an Iraqi family peacefully farming their land during a war, he sought the same peace after his return stateside. The program he created is called "Armed to Farm."
Material needs, featuring the original digital short "Veteran's Best Friend." When Amanda Hugo returned home after 21 years of service on a U.S. Air Force bomb squad in Iraq, she faced daunting physical and emotional hardships. Her partnership with a service dog – an 18-month old English Mastiff – offers new challenges and solutions. Together, they have good and bad days.
Relationships, featuring the original digital shorts "Compasión" and "Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (WT)." "Compasión" follows Cibelés Ramirez Rodriguez, returning from active duty in Iraq, as she finds peace in rebuilding a life with her 12-year-old son and in connecting with others. "Sheepdog Impact Assistance (WT)" follows the organization that offers members and fellow Sheep Dogs continued service opportunities to satisfy their innate desire to serve and help those around them through three programs: Disaster Response Missions, Outdoor Adventures, and Holiday Assistance.