On September 13, 2014, the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families participated in the 2014 Apple Days Fall Festival at Ft. Riley. The institute hosted an information booth, providing information for military families about our work. Apple Days was an exciting way to integrate those in the community with our military families and soldiers. Events such as a cavalry demonstration, community health experience, inflatables, rock wall, petting zoo, obstacle course, treasure hunts and vendors also took place at this annual event. This was a great way for our institute to interact with families at Ft. Riley.
Category: 2014 Fall Newsletter
Phil Klay, U.S. Marine Corps veteran who won the 2014 National Book Award for “Redeployment,” discussed his balance between being a veteran and writer in his presentation at K-State on October 1, 2014.
“I have a pretty unusual job for a veteran,” Klay said. “A lot of the vets I know are men of action.”
Klay, a graduate of Dartmouth College, lived in New York when Hurricane Sandy hit and destroyed many people’s homes and means of living.
“A couple of weeks afterwards, I met up with a friend of mine, an army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Klay told the audience. “I asked him what he had been up to and he said, ‘I’ve been working with Team Rubicon’.”
Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster relief organization that utilizes both veterans and emergency responders. The two occupations are similar in that they require hard work in chaotic environments. Team Rubicon sent teams into the streets to locate survivors who were stranded in the aftermath. There were quite a few money and civilian agencies trying to help victims, but their disorganization rendered them less helpful.
“He had gone in with Team Rubicon, and they started sending in teams of veterans to find out what people needed, where people were and what was going on. They started feeding all of this information into this data visualization program,” Klay said. “Basically, they had this map, and it shows ‘old lady in an apartment with no food or water here,’ ‘family of five in need of clothes and transportation here,’ and ‘here’s a group that can help out the old lady,’ ‘here’s a group that can help out the family.’ Then they coordinated with the different groups to get people what they needed.”
At this point, Klay’s friend asked his question in reverse.
“So he tells me, ‘Yeah it was pretty great, you know, did a good job out there. So what have you been up to?’ at which point I was hoping he really wouldn’t ask,” Klay said. “I was like, ‘Uh, I’m writing stories.’”
Klay encounters this type of situation often, but feels that “storytelling is one of the most vital responsibilities that we have.”
Klay’s novel is a collection of stories told through the eyes of soldiers who are either deployed in Iraq or have returned home to the United States. The book has received strong reviews from the New York Times, among others.
The 2014 National Book Award, granted by the National Book Foundation, is selected by an elite panel of past award winners, writers and literary critics.
Klay is also a 2014 National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Honoree, an award that is given to the most promising young writers in the fiction genre.
(This story was adapted from a K-State Collegian report.)
As the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley and Kansas State University began the sixth year of their incredible partnership, leaders from the organizations met Oct. 2 at the post to discuss mutual goals for the future. Officials strive to serve as a model military-to-university institutional partnership, and continue to leverage their diverse cultures to develop alternate ideas. This includes improved approaches to challenges of mutual interest, focusing on the areas of professional development, quality of life, transition, family well-being and resiliency.
Officials discussed how the university was of value to the division and how the division was of use to the university. Those values are nested in areas like internships/fellowships, research, athletic relationships and education and family life programs.
During the meeting, K-State President Kirk Schulz presented Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general, with a university flag.
The Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families hosted an information booth at Bill Snyder Family Stadium located in Cat Town at the Fort Riley Day Military Appreciation Pre-Game Events on Oct. 4. We spoke to military families about our mission, goals, past events and upcoming events for these soldiers and their families. And our BRO (Big Red One, 1st Infantry Division) partners got to enjoy a Wildcat victory, too.
The emotions of war took the stage Oct. 14 with the world premiere tour performance of “Basetrack” at Kansas State University’s McCain Auditorium. “Basetrack” draws on the power of individual stories to examine the collective experience of those who have served in America’s longest war.
“Basetrack” is adapted from the Facebook page and website created by photojournalist Teru Kuwayama to let soldiers and their families communicate during the war in Afghanistan.
The site received more than 5 million hits and evolved into an unprecedented online community. It enabled civilians and military personnel on opposite sides of the world to track news from the front line, exchange information and develop relationships with people in similar situations. By creating a platform where participants could freely communicate, the social media site democratized how the war was recorded and will be incorporated into history.
The theatrical production of “Basetrack” was on a limited national tour before it premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York in November.
The production takes actual text from the site and pairs it with interviews with Marines filmed while in the theatre of war to create an educational, moving and inspirational work for all ages.
Using theatre, music, news media, journalism and technology as a bridge with the military, community and the broader public, “Basetrack” looks at the legacy of war on veterans.
In an installation called ‘A Grunt’s War Diary’, artist Folleh Tamba shares the experience of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan through drawings, sculpture, poetry, photography and entries from Tamba’s war diaries that are embedded with visual and audio.
A Grunt’s War Diary is a study of one man’s trauma. It was on display for two weeks in October at the William T. Kemper Art Gallery in the K-State student union.
When American-born Tamba was a child, his parents returned to their home in West Africa. Later, caught in the Liberian civil war, the family was forced to live in a refugee camp until the U. S. Marine Corps intervened.
When he was 18, his mother brought the family back to the United States where Tamba earned undergraduate and MFA degrees in film at Columbia College Chicago.
At age 26 he enlisted in the Marine Corps and became an infantry rifleman. He served in Iraq and completed four tours of duty.
A documentary film he directed, shot and produced called ‘Triangle of Death’ won the Founder’s Award at the GI Film Festival and several other awards in 2009.
For more information about ‘A Grunt’s War Diary’, visit the project website at http://www.555c.org/index.php/art-trauma/what-is-war/item/251-a-grunt-s-war-diary/251-a-grunt-s-war-diary.
In November, the institute was invited to be a partner for the first GratitudeAmerica Military Support Retreat at Winshape in Rome, Ga. Briana Goff and Lori Zetmeir conducted research and assisted with the small group sessions.
Similar to the institute’s Flint Hills Retreat in 2011, the retreat consisted of 12 veteran and caregiver pairs. Caregivers included primary support persons and spouses. The participants included both veteran and active duty members from all branches of the military. All veteran participants served post 9/11 in Iraq or Afghanistan and have been diagnosed with PTSD and/or a TBI.
The purpose of the retreat was to promote community based non-profit integrative intensive retreats for service members and their primary support persons in the Atlanta, Georgia area.
Events consisted of group education sessions as well as several local events, including square dancing, equine therapy, a ropes course and a nature walk.
This was the fourth retreat conducted by GratitudeAmerica. The others were in Marineland, Fla. They plan to host 3-4 similar retreats in both Florida and Georgia each year.