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In the summer of 2011 our town of 7,365 residents was named “Most Beautiful Small Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today. Sandpoint, Idaho: an outdoor enthusiast’s dream packed full of mountain trails, lake fishing, skiing, boating, and conservancy efforts. If you talk to any of the town-folk you’ll quickly learn that the people are super-friendly, passionate about living simply, and proud as heck to be surrounded by beauty that ignites the soul on fire. But, with all this beauty it’s easy to overlook a very important topic – the rural Veteran community.
About The Documentary
What is this documentary – Life After Service: North Idaho Veterans – all about? As the title suggests, the documentary explores what life has been like for our rural Veteran residents after their military service has expired. But, more importantly, it will serve two purposes: First, is to help local Veterans discover resources that are available to them, connect with other Veterans, and be a platform for healing and sharing their stories. Second, is to inform the general public about who our Veteran neighbors are, what programs are available to support them, and how they give back to the community.
Why Cover This Topic?
We decided to embark on this journey for several reasons. Perhaps the most important reason is because all too often Veterans are overlooked after their service expires. There’s an unspoken expectation from society that assumes the readjustment process should be swift and easy. So many of the veterans we have communicated with have shared with us how they felt “divorced” from society after returning from their service. Furthermore, many of the vets also shared that they no longer could live in urban communities upon returning from service and that they felt compelled to live in a peaceful, low-key, and quiet environment.
We do not have a hidden agenda with this documentary. We do, however, have a sincere curiosity about the individual, after-service experiences of our local Veteran population. What are some meaningful experiences they’ve had? What aspects have been difficult that they’ve struggled with? What types of support systems do they have? What was their homecoming like? What have they learned about the readjustment process? What advice would they like to share with the soldiers returning home? What advice would they like to share with civilians? How can Veteran out-reach programs better reach vets who live in rural communities?
Our Vision For This Project
Our intention is to create an informative, healing, inspiring, and empowering documentary. We hope this documentary will show other veterans that they are not alone and there are resources and support available to them. In the same vein, we hope to educate the civilian community about the readjustment process for Veterans. Ultimately, we would like to create a platform of dialogue that can help bridge the gap from feeling separated from society to feeling adjusted to life after service.
Our goal is to reach North Idaho Veterans and community members by showing the documentary at local VFW halls, private homes, community centers, and through DVD distribution.
We are in the midst of interviewing veterans, veteran supporters, and service providers. If you would like to view our project updates, please visit: Documentary Updates
How You Can Help Us Achieve Our Vision
Bottom line is our vision cannot be achieved without your help. And, in fact, your support is vital in making this project a success. In order to complete this documentary and make it a success we are accepting individual contributions and corporate/organization sponsorships. Your contribution will help pay for video production, post-production editing, DVD creation, and distribution costs. Contributions are being accepted at all Mountain West Bank locations, or you can contact us directly to make arrangements. Please visit our sponsorship page for more information on sponsorship opportunities.