Category: Podcast

Iraq vet Paul Chappell on mass shootings, conflict resolution, and the art of living


“Using painful life experiences to expand your empathy, to expand your understanding, to increase your purpose in life and find meaning in life, that’s how I approach these issues, because finding the light in that darkness, if we really want to solve the problems of these mass shootings and violence that we need to understand why these things happen.”

Paul Chappell

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Extraction Unit Fireman Scott Geiselhart

“It shocked me because I thought ptsd was a military thing. I didn’t think a firefighter could get it. I didn’t think anyone else could get it. In fact I didn’t even believe in ptsd. I thought it was a copout. “

Scott Geiselhart

Frazee Fire Department
Rescue Unit/Extraction Team

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Jill Troutner of Women Veterans Initiative

Jill Troutner

“You come back and some things that your friend or your sister in law or your mother think that are really important as a woman, like that designer purse or that pair of shoes. They just don’t seem like they are worth very much, in the grand scheme of things when you are coming back from places where we are shipping bodies back home.”

Jill Troutner

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Javier Matos from Boots to Blues


This week I spend time with Javier Matos. Javier is a fantastic blues musician who served in the army first as a helicopter repairman and then as a public affairs specialist.

The episode concludes with the song Wartime by Javier & the Innocent Sons album Born to Ramble, which was awarded the best self produced blues album for 2015 in Minneapolis.

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Daniel Egbert and Doc King of Project 22

project 22


“We’ve gone to war and experienced things that nobody else in the country will, unless they’ve gone too, but everybody else in the country is going to vote on the next time we do it. They only place they’re going to hear an accurate version of what’s going on is from a veteran in the right mental state.

I think we owe it to our community to get sharp mentally, physically…to come back and think about war and what we went thru and share it in a way that people can understand.”

Doc King – Creative Director of Project 22 | Served in Iraq as an Army Scout Medic.

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Hector Matascastillo on The Crucible, Courage, and Community


“Suffering continues to exist when we avoid.
It’s interesting, because as a warrior culture,
we don’t avoid a fight.
We don’t avoid conflict.

We’re fearless because it helps others
and so I’m willing to put myself out there.

And then when we are in suffering,
we begin to think that we are the sacrifice
and this is how I represent myself as a sacrifice.

But I’m going to ask people to get off the cross
because we need the wood.
It’s already done.

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Creative Partnerships w/ Sean Barnard

Alive & Social logo-22

The business community is responding to our call for action.

I talk with VRP’s first partner Sean Barnard, of the Alive & Social Network, a startup in Minneapolis.

I also meet the founder of Rumble, Jess Ford, who has contributed use of their music library for production of the podcast.

Progress report:
– DAV Commander Remus endorsed VRP’s grant application for funding from Veteran for Veterans.
– Invitation from the Catalyst Initiative, a wing of the George Family Foundation, to apply for seed funding. Thanks Suzanne Koepplinger and the folks over there.
– can accept online donations now. Thanks Anita Riedner for the masterful coding, Vicky Gonzalez of TruStone Financial, and Tom Leifur at First Data.
– VRP participated in a Veteran Benefits Fair at the American Legion Post #444 in Middle River, MN

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Gary Melom: the essence of recovery is the human spirit

2“Your first 6 months in the service you’re basically learning to forget who you are. Which makes it that much harder when you come back, when you’ve seen some bad stuff and you don’t know what to do about it and the you don’t even have yourself anymore. You’re something else. So, that’s where dealing with PTSD is so crucial, because it opens a door to get yourself back.”  Gary Melom

Gary Melom is a retired Hennepin County social worker/case manager and chemical dependency counselor. He is a Vietnam veteran and the vice president of the Veteran Resilience Project board of directors. Gary is known for his ability to generate trusted relationships with his clients by listening to them, not categorizing them, and letting the facts of their life be the impetus for healing.

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Fed VA can’t solve local moral issue

KYNDELL HARKNESS • MINNEAPOLIS - 1/21/10 - IN THIS PHOTO: ] Star Tribune reporter Mark Brunswick

Moral injury – evidence of VA restricting veteran access to PTSD treatments – interview with Mark Brunswick of the Star Tribune newspaper – conversation with Elaine Wynne.

Mark Brunswick, staff writer at the Star Tribune covers “Military and Veterans Affairs”

Mark Russell Article in the Huffington Post, “Who Cares? Part 1: Veterans Denied Access to Top PTSD Treatments”

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