While most talk shows focus their content on makeovers, celebrity gossip and recipe tips, one special television program in Contra Costa County, Calif., is eschewing these topics and bringing important news to veterans and the families and communities that care about them instead.
Veterans’ Voices, funded by a $25,000 grant from the California Department of Veterans Affairs, airs once a month and provides a forum for discussion about all issues facing veterans. Marine Corps veteran Nathan Johnson and Kevin Graves, regional outreach specialist for the California V.A. serve as the show’s hosts. Graves’s son, Spc. Joseph Graves, was killed in 2006 while serving in Iraq.
Veterans’ Voices tackles topics like coping with post-combat stress, preventing veteran suicide and supporting veterans’ caregivers. “We can have an actual dialogue about these issues that is straight from the veterans,” Johnson tells the San Jose Mercury News.
The show features special guests who are making a difference in vets’ lives, such as former combat medic Jason Deitch, whose project War Ink documents how veterans express the stories of their service through tattoos.
Every episode introduces a veteran to talk about some aspect of his or her experience. “It may be an event that they’ve experienced or a challenge that they’ve overcome, or even just who they are as people, who they are as service members,” Johnson says.
The hosts encourage veterans, military members and civilians to call in or email with their questions for discussion on the show.
Graves stresses, “It takes a complete community to help reintegrate and support our military. By having a show like this where we can bring guests on and make the public more aware of what veterans’ needs are, the intent is that those needs will be met better.”