WPT Releasing Veterans Coming Home Content Online through mid-August

August 3, 2016

WPT Releasing Veterans Coming Home Content Online through mid-August

Wisconsin Public Television Cross-Platform Project, Veterans Coming Home, Is Helping to Bridge the Military-Civilian Divide and Strengthen Communities 

MADISON, WIS (Aug. 3, 2016) – Through mid-August, Wisconsin Public Television is premiering new Veterans Coming Home  stories online that aim to help veterans and communities understand the opportunities and challenges faced during the transition to civilian life and bridge the military-civilian divide. Veterans Coming Home is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

The series explores themes common to veterans reintegrating to civilian life, including how veterans continue to seek the close bonds of a military unit after transitioning.  This work also conveys the value of sharing and expressing veterans’ stories through art, and the notion of public and community service in civilian life. 

“Building on WPT’s long history of working with veterans in Wisconsin, these stories about post-9/11 veterans and their experiences are critical to helping all of us understand how to support their successful reintegration to Wisconsin life,” said Jon Miskowski, Director of Wisconsin Public Television. “Veterans of all generations are an important part of our communities and they deserve our attention and appreciation.  We have unique storytelling skills and community partners to help bridge the gap in understanding as they find their way home.“

WPT has already released segments featuring Crystal Colon, a young female veteran who navigated isolation and lack-of-purpose to find a renewed sense of community, as well as a story featuring Feast of Crispian, a non-profit theater troupe founded by UW-Milwaukee theater professors. The civilian professors bring professional actors and post deployment service veterans of all generations together using basic acting tools and the compelling words of Shakespeare to bring veterans a powerful experience as they express themselves. The segment will also be featured in a future episode of WPT’s local broadcast series Wisconsin Life. A profile of Guitars 4 Vets and its founders, guitar instructor Patrick Nettesheim and Vietnam-era Marine veteran Dan Van Buskirk includes a performance with some of the veteran musicians.

WPT will release additional segments:

·       August 3: See Me For Who I Am profiles the connection UW-Stevens Point student veterans have with each other and with civilian lecturer David Chrisinger as they navigate university life through a first year orientation and writing course specifically for veterans. The segment catches up with the group as they celebrate the release of a book featuring their writing and titled See Me For Who I Am.

·       August 10: Not Everyone Who Comes Home is Home, written and spoken by UW-Stevens Point student Tyler Pozolinski and animated by Wisconsin Public Television. Published in the book See Me for Who I Am, the piece explores a common experience among veterans of all generations - haunting dreams from their deployments - and how Tyler ultimately embraces his dreams as a positive reminder of his life experience.

·       August 17: Profile of Mathew Hefti, author of A Hard and Heavy Thing, a fictional piece about two post 9/11 veterans and their transition home. Mathew spent 12 years as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, deploying twice to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. Hefti is pursuing his Juris Doctor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and works on the Wisconsin Innocence Project.

Audiences can access the content online at http://wpt.veteranscominghome.org/, or by following Wisconsin Public Television on Facebook or @WisPublicTV on Twitter. WPT has been working with Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA), Wisconsin Veterans Museum, DAV-Wisconsin, Stevens Point Student Veterans group, and others to identify and share these compelling stories throughout Wisconsin via social media.

The stories about Wisconsin veterans are WPT’s contribution to the national Veterans Coming Home effort the station is leading in partnership with Kindling Group, a Chicago production company. WPT and Kindling Group have been working closely with other local public media stations across the country to create media across all formats, sparking a dialogue about veterans’ lives and their communities, often confronting the stereotypes that veterans and civilians hold about each other.   

Through a partnership with PBS Stories of Service, Veterans Coming Home national episodes produced by Kindling Group, each four to six minutes long, are available to watch on PBS.org and across all platforms and devices that support PBS video streaming apps, including Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire, and Chromecast, as well as Android, iOS, and Windows 10 mobile devices. Audiences can participate in the conversation using the hashtag #VetsComingHome and by following Veterans Coming Home on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@vetscominghome), or visiting VeteransComingHome.org.  

“CPB-funded Veterans Coming Home is digital first with the potential to connect and engage with this new generation of veterans and their civilian peers,” said CPB President and CEO Pat Harrison. “We are hopeful that this series will promote a greater understanding of both military service and reentry into civilian life.”

National partners include Got Your 6, Veteran Artist Program, VOX, The Mission Continues, Service Year Alliance, Team Rubicon, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, The YMCA, Veteran Artists Program, National Peace Corps Association, Service Women's Action Network, Intersections International, Volunteers of America, Corporation for National and Community Service, Points of Light, Team Red, White & Blue, Veterans in Film and TV, Make the Connection and Veterans Crisis Line at U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University; USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families, Student Veterans of America, Justice for Vets and GI Film Festival.

Veterans Coming Home is a part of a pipeline of programming offered by PBS with funding from CPB to celebrate our country’s military and veterans exploring the complex, authentic experiences of those who serve and have served. 

About Wisconsin Public Television

Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) enriches, educates and entertains diverse audiences through the innovative use of television, other communication technologies and community engagement. Over the last twelve years, WPT developed deep experience working with the veterans’ community through robust engagement with key audiences and constituents.  Those efforts yielded exceptional programming, including the Wisconsin War Stories series of documentaries and LZ Lambeau, which drew 70,000 veterans and their families to a three-day event in 2010 that recognized Wisconsin’s Vietnam Veterans. WPT is a service of the Educational Communications Board and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

About Kindling Group

Kindling Group (KG) crafts powerful documentaries and engagement campaigns that ignite change.  KG's filmmakers, digital strategists and activists are dedicated to creating films and media for all screens, from large to small, that promote inquiry and connect viewers to critical social issues.  Veterans Coming Home is executive produced by Danny Alpert, an award-winning producer and director, whose films have aired on HBO, PBS, and around the world and have been nominated for Emmy and Academy Awards. Story Producer is Whitney Dow, whose films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca and IDFA and recognized with the George Foster Peabody Award; Alfred I. duPont Award and many film festival honors.

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmediaFacebook and LinkedIn.

About PBS Stories of Service

PBS Stories of Service is a multi-platform initiative that explores veterans’ experiences and provides a deeper understanding of our country’s military history.  Stories of Service was announced in May 2014 as part of an initiative with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to share veterans’ stories, provide a deeper understanding of our nation’s military history, and increase dialogue as our nation’s veterans transition to civilian life.  

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