Coming Home Project

Credit c_vincent/iStock / Thinkstock

The Coming Home Project was launched by WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil in 2011 to tell the stories of veterans in transition and the issues that matter to them and their families. 

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Coming Home Project
8:51 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Alarming Rate of Opiates Prescribed by VA

The Department of Veterans Affairs has supplied some veterans, like Tim Fazio, pictured, with a large amount of oxycodone pills since he returning home after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fazio told reporter Aaron Glantz he was never in acute physical pain, but used the pills to blot out feelings of guilt for surviving when many of his friends did not.
Credit Adithya Sambamurthy / The Center for Investigative Reporting

A new report by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that since 9/11, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has prescribed opiates at an alarming rate. Between 2001 and 2012, the number of opiate prescriptions has grown 270 percent. CIR says this has contributed to the rate of overdose deaths among veterans that is double the national average.

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Coming Home Project
3:19 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Meeting the Legal Needs of Veterans

Margaret Middleton is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Homeless veterans have told the VA  that one of their top needs is finding legal assistance. The Connecticut Veterans Legal Center in New Haven is one organization that fills this need.  Now the non-profit is working to build a network of similar legal service providers.

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Coming Home Project
5:12 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

18 Veterans Found a Home in Jewett City's American Legion Post

Photo by the Women's Institute

Last July, an American Legion Post in Jewett City renovated its building to provide permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless veterans. The project in Jewett City created fifteen apartments solely for veterans. It's rural communities like Jewett City where the VA has had a hard time connecting with veterans nationwide.

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Coming Home Project
2:16 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Suicide Haunts New Generation Of Veterans

(sjbresnahan/Flickr)

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 3:49 pm

It’s estimated that more than 20 veterans kill themselves every day. A new survey of men and women who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that mental health is the most important issue they face.

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Coming Home Project
5:25 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Amendment Would Help Military Families Insured by Tricare

Courtesy of Flickr CC by BLW Photography

An amendment to the defense budget bill before Congress could help military families who have children with developmental disabilities including autism.

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Where We Live
3:04 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Sexual Assault in the Military

creative commons

Pressure is building on the military to change its culture from within after an alarming Pentagon report estimates 26,000 servicemembers were sexually assaulted last year-- President Obama calls these crimes “shameful and disgraceful.”  Another layer to this problem is that very few of these assaults are actually reported. Now federal lawmakers including Connecticut’s Senator Richard Blumenthal are supporting bills to change how the military prosecutes these cases so victims no longer fear retaliation

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Coming Home Project
3:45 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Army Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel: A Remembrance

Courtesy of Helen Pedersen Keiser

On Thursday, May 23, the photo of U.S Army Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel will be added to the State of Connecticut's Wall of Honor, a tribute to servicemembers who died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

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Coming Home Project
11:05 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Special Visas for Iraqis Who Worked for the U.S. Could Expire

Courtesy of Timothy Coon

Some veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are closely watching the immigration reform bill as it moves to the U.S Senate for a vote. The bill calls on extending a visa program for the people servicemembers often relied upon while in combat.

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Coming Home Project
2:28 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Trumbull Resident Honors Veterans and Their Families

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

Forty men and women from Connecticut died in the Iraq War. Trumbull resident Mike Mastroni created the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation to remember veterans killed after 9-11 and to honor their families.

WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil spoke with him in Hartford about his decision to get involved in this way.

More about the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation can be found here. The state of Connecticut has also created a website to remember local veterans who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

 

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Where We Live
10:57 am
Tue March 19, 2013

The Iraq War: Ten Years Later

U.S. Air Force photo - Tech. Sgt. Rick Sforza (Creative Commons)

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. Throughout the day, we're looking back at what has changed over the last 10 years both there and here at home. It was a war that cost trillions of dollars and more importantly, thousands of lives.

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Coming Home Project
5:18 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Remembering Marine Sgt. David Coullard of East Hartford

Photo Courtesy of the Coullard family

On Tuesday, March 19,  WNPR is focusing its coverage on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War including remembering those who were killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Forty men and women from Connecticut died between 2003 and 2010.

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Coming Home Project
6:13 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

VA Offers Free Gun Locks To Help Prevent Vet Suicides

The Department of Veterans Affairs began giving out gun locks in 2008, modeling a national gun safety program called Project ChildSafe
Sue Ogrocki AP

Every day an estimated 22 veterans kill themselves in the U.S. and most of them use a gun to do so, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. This trend mirrors the general population where more people kill themselves with guns than by all other methods combined.

The VA is trying to help with a program that offers gun locks to veterans for free. The thinking is that if they lock their guns up they might not reach for them in the spur of the moment.

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Coming Home Project
4:58 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

VA Gives Gun Locks To Veterans To Prevent Suicides

Lucy Nalpathanchil

Every day an estimated twenty-two veterans kill themselves in the U.S. and most of them will use a gun to do so according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This trend mirrors the general population where more people kill themselves with guns than with all other methods combined. The VA is trying to help with a program that offers gun locks to veterans for free. The thinking is that if they lock their guns up they might not reach for them in the spur of the moment. 

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Coming Home Project
6:12 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Clifford Beers Clinic to Help Military Families

Courtesy of Clifford Beers Clinic

A New Haven mental health clinic has received a federal grant to help the children of military families. The clinic aims to use the funding to fill a gap that exists in the VA health care system.

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Coming Home Project
4:47 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Veterans Commissioner Reflects on End of Combat Ban for Women

Photo by Chion Wolf

The state's Commissioner of Veterans Affairs is applauding news that the military is ending its ban on women serving in the infantry and other ground combat. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil has more from Vietnam veteran Linda Schwartz.

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Coming Home Project
4:22 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Formerly Homeless, An Army Vet Prepares for Christmas

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

It's been five months since 16 homeless veterans moved into permanent supportive housing thanks to the American Legion Post in southeastern Connecticut. The Jewett City Post renovated its own building to create the apartments. The project was funding by the federal VA with help from private donations, Second district Congressman Joe Courtney, and the state of Connecticut.

This past summer, WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil introduced us to one of the new tenants, an Army veteran. She visited him recently as he prepares for his first Christmas inside his own place.

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Coming Home Project
5:42 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Suicide 'Epidemic' Among Active Duty Military and Veterans

Photo courtesy of Truthout.org

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called on military leaders to explore a "epidemic" of suicide among active duty servicemembers and veterans. Each day, 18 veterans kill themselves according to the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. In Connecticut, 30 veterans have died this way since 2009, but those are only the suicides that the VA knows about.

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Where We Live
10:30 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Governor Malloy and Linda Schwartz on Veterans Issues, the Budget, and Energy

Chion Wolf

Today, we’ll officially kick off a monthly visit from Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. Here at Where We Live, we made a big deal about how the last governor didn’t like to come on the show and answer questions from listeners.

This governor, despite news of a growing budget gap and facing pretty low approval ratings, says “bring on the questions!” So we will and we’ll give you a chance to call in as well to talk about the state budget, about recovery from Sandy, about economic development and the just-completed elections.

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Coming Home Project
4:37 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Battle Continues Over Yellow Ribbons on Litchfield Green

Yellow ribbons are back on the town green in Litchfield after being taken down recently by a group that oversees the historic district. The ribbons, which show support of the military, were removed in late summer by the borough warden and burgesses. The members voted to take four of them down without telling town residents who have maintained the ribbons, specifically the families of servicemembers. No reason was given.

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Coming Home Project
3:36 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

A Living Memorial to Connecticut's Veterans

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

To date, 63 men and women from Connecticut have died while serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. A small group of Connecticut residents are working to create a living memorial to these service members. It will be called the Connecticut Trees of Honor, and the planned site is in Middletown's Veterans Memorial Park.

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Coming Home Project
6:21 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

A Bill To Help Veterans Targeted By For-Profit Schools

Photo by Chion Wolf

Congressman Joe Courtney has sponsored a bill that could help veterans who are in school or planning to enroll using the Post 9-11 GI bill. The legislation would change how education funding is classified from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

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Where We Live
12:08 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans on Trial

U.S. Army (Flickr Creative Commons)

In the Civil War, it was called soldiers heart or nostalgia. In WWI, it was known as shell shock. These days, it's known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Talk to any veteran and they'll tell you: war changes you.

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Coming Home Project
6:12 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Attorney Seeks to Improve Claims Process for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma

CVLC

A Connecticut attorney testified before Congress Wednesday on ways to improve the claims process for veterans who've been sexually assaulted while in the military. 

When veterans are raped or sexually assaulted while in the service, it's called military sexual trauma or MST.

The Department of Defense estimates more than 19,000 sexual assaults happened in 2010, but it's a problem that's often under-reported.

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Coming Home Project
7:34 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Homeless Rural Vets Find A Place To Call Home

American Legion Post Cmdr. Mark Czmyr and his father, Navy veteran William Czmyr, originated the idea to create permanent apartments for homeless vets in Jewett City, Conn.
Lucy Nalpathanchil for NPR

This month, more than a dozen homeless veterans will finally have a place to call their own, thanks to the American Legion.

The organization's post in a small Connecticut town has been working for a decade on a unique project to create not transitional but permanent supportive housing in their rural community.

For 55-year-old Army veteran Jeff MacDonald, the new facility in Jewett City, Conn., was like "winning the lottery."

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Coming Home Project
6:27 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

The Home That Jewett City Built

Lucy Nalpathanchil WNPR

Originally aired on NPR's "All Things Considered"

This month, more than a dozen homeless veterans will finally have a place to call their own thanks to the American Legion. A local Post in a small Connecticut town has been working for a decade on a unique project to create not transitional, but permanent supportive housing in their rural community. 

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Coming Home Project
12:02 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Federal Grants to Help Formerly Homeless, Incarcerated Veterans

Courtesy of Flickr CC by Mr G's Travels

A Workforce Development Board in Connecticut has received almosts $450,000 from the U.S. Labor Department. The Workplace, Inc. will use the grants to help homeless veterans and those who've been incarcerated. 

WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil spoke to Joe Carbone, the President and CEO of The Workplace, Inc about the programs to help veterans. The Workplace, Inc is sharing in more than 20 million in grants from the U.S. Labor Department that were awarded nationwide.

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Coming Home Project
2:37 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

American Legion Post Opens Housing for Veterans

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

An American Legion post in Jewett City has dedicated the last decade to raising money so it could help homeless veterans. On Monday, hundreds of Griswold residents turned out to celebrate the project's completion. Post 15 renovated its building so to provide 18 apartments to veterans who need housing.

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Coming Home Project
12:33 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Attention on High Number of Sexual Assaults in Military

U.S Navy

On Monday, The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in Stamford hosted a viewing of "Invisible War," an award-winning documentary about sexual assault in the military. More servicemembers who have experienced this trauma are starting to file claims with the VA.

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Coming Home Project
3:34 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

An Art Group for Veterans

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

A coffee house in Middletown is showcasing the work of artists who are also veterans. WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil has more

Al Kim works the night shift as a police officer for the city for the Middletown. During the day, he often hangs out at Klekolo World Coffee a few blocks from the police department. Kim is also a photographer and some of his work hangs on the walls of the small coffee shop. He points to one of them,  It’s a picture of the Swing Bridge over the Connecticut River.

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Coming Home Project
3:34 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

A Remembrance: Master Sgt Latisha Kennedy, a 20 Year Veteran of the U.S Air Force

Courtesy of the Gandy Family

There are more women serving in the U.S military now than ever before.  In fact, more than 255,000 women have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade.  They may be your neighbor or your co-worker but their stories often aren't told.  

As part of our ongoing Coming Home Series, WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil has a remembrance of a Seymour veteran who served in the U.S Air Force. 

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