What Artists Can Do: Homeless Veterans (Washington Post)

This is an amazing and touching article in the Washington Post,
which I came by via one of the artists, Richard Johnson

Once we were soldiers

They are only translucent distorted shadows of the soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen they once were. They are now addicts at the very edges of their addiction — singularly focused on the need to feed their habit, be it cocaine, meth, heroin, crack, or good old alcohol. Their drug-induced lives dull their histories of medication prescribed for diagnoses of bipolar, manic tendencies, depressive, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, antisocial, and attention deficit disorders.

A hundred miles southeast of Denver in a shallow Colorado river valley of lush man-made crop circles there is an old military base. It was once a prison, once a hospital, once an asylum but here now in a meander of the Arkansas River it has become a refuge.

They find them living under the bridges, or they find them close to death in hospitals, or they find them sleeping in dumpsters, in alleys, in doorways – the invisible dregs and the leftovers of good lives gone bad. They find them and they take the willing ones here.

For the rest of the story continue on to  Once we were soldiers.

It will take your breath away.  That is what artists can do.


About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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2 Responses to What Artists Can Do: Homeless Veterans (Washington Post)

  1. Sammy D. says:

    Katie – thank you so much for posting this. I was not aware the Colorado Coalition was doing this project although I am familiar with their successful farm project. What a small world … I knew – just knew – as I read this that the other artist named “Mike” was Michael Fay. I am very familiar with Fay as he was one of the official military artists during the Iraq War when I was very involved with an organization that supplied packages to deployed troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Military blogs were in their infancy, and the ability to connect to deployed troops through blogs and email gave supporters a way to “talk” with them and get to know them. Michael Fay’s work to chronicle the war and the troops was phenominal -he is a prolific and moving artist, and I followed his blog for several years.

    This story brought tears to my eyes that so many veterans need our help, and we have organizations like the Coalition and artists like these two to broaden our awareness.

    Thank you for your kindness. Warm hugs, Sammy


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