Veteran

An aircraft carrier in open ocean pictured from the top from left
US Navy

Voting by mail is nothing new for military service members. Deployed worldwide at any of the nearly 800 foreign bases, military personnel are offered some exceptions during the elections. Some vote by fax from a battleship, and many sent their ballots weeks ago, after receiving them earlier than most voters, at least 45 days before the election. 

An empty rocking chair on a porch.
Public Domain

Nursing homes have weathered more than 100 outbreaks of COVID-19 in North Carolina. More than 40% of the state’s deaths from the virus are from residents at those facilities. Some of those facilities are state-run nursing homes for veterans, and there is now scrutiny over government accountability amidst ongoing outbreaks.

Sonny Kelly on stage
Huth Photography/Courtesy of Sonny Kelly

North Carolina playwright, actor and teacher Sonny Kelly has made it his mission in life to inspire others. He aims to use performance and ministry to connect with people, especially marginalized kids. As a young man in the U.S. Air Force, Kelly felt like he had no real purpose or direction in his life.

Ashely Evans / Western Carolina University

Kevin Rumley had a near-picturesque upbringing that he describes being like a 1950s Disney movie. Growing up in Fairfax, Virginia, Rumley and his two brothers played music, rollerbladed and skateboarded on the halfpipe their dad built them.

Carissa Rogers / Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/goodncrazy/14262072596/

When a Vietnam War veteran died Christmas Eve with no family nearby, a community of veterans, a friend and military supporters in North Carolina stepped up to make sure he was finally laid to rest with military honors.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'More Happiness In My Life'

Dec 23, 2018
Jeremy Moore

Jeremy Moore was on a night patrol in Afghanistan in 2012 when he fell nearly 60 feet down an open well. He suffered serious injuries to his legs, spine, and head. He returned to Fort Bragg, determined to stay in the Army and keep working, even while he recovered from trauma that made routine activities difficult.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: Helping Incarcerated Veterans

Nov 18, 2018
Portrait of former Staff Sergeant Josh Eisenhauer.
Dawn Erickson

 Lynn and Steve Newsom spent five years as co- directors of Fayetteville’s Quaker House. 

During their tenure, they advocated for better mental health care for incarcerated veterans, organizing a petition and vigil in April 2016 to draw attention to the plight of former Staff Sergeant Josh Eisenhauer. 

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'He Stood Out In My Mind'

Aug 19, 2018
Mary Ellen Shugart holds a portrait of herself as a young Army nurse in Vietnam.
Matt Couch

Mary Ellen Shugart served two tours as an Army nurse in Vietnam in the 1960s and early 70s. She treated hundreds of soldiers, but the memory of one young man at Fort Bragg stayed with her through the years.

She recalled treating a soldier in the ICU and Recovery Ward at Womack Army Hospital in 1966. Injured in Vietnam, he’d been flown back to the U.S. for treatment for an abdominal wound.

FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'The War Is Over'

Aug 12, 2018
A portrait of Bill Reid, age 17.
Holly Reid

Bill Reid is 92 now, but back in 1944 he was just 18 when he was drafted to fight in World War II. He traveled by train from New Jersey to Fort Bragg for 17 weeks of training before heading off to Europe. 

On his first day at Bragg, Reid recalled he was not impressed with his initial assignment.

John Carroll Whitener
Courtesy of John Carroll Whitener

 John Carroll Whitener could have easily avoided being drafted into the Vietnam War. He could have truthfully checked the box marked “yes” on the military form that asked new recruits if they had homosexual tendencies. But doing so would have meant admitting a truth he was not ready to accept and facing the consequences of a future that did not include his family and church.

Ft Bragg Stories A mixed 'chalk' of U.S. and British paratroopers line up to board a C-130 transport plane for the main jump of the joint exercise.
Jay Price / North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC

North Carolina is home to the largest U.S. military installation in the world by population. It employs more than 50,000 military and close to 30,000 civilians and contributes tens of billions of dollars to the state’s economy.

Finbarr O'Reilly

Thomas J. Brennan first started writing about war through letters home to his wife when he was deployed in a remote village in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

Bobbie O'Brien

An average of 20 military veterans commit suicide each day. While men and women killed in combat are remembered as heroes, those who take their own lives after returning home are rarely glorified.