In the military, adapt and overcome is a familiar motto. It's a mindset to persevere when the unexpected occurs.
Throughout WCPO's Homefront series in 2021, veterans showed that same perseverance – whether it was dealing with post-combat issues, fighting for benefits or telling their stories of sexual trauma. The pandemic was a new obstacle, but Tri-State vets continued to show the grace, honor and courage at home as when they served.
- The story of Ray Burlew, a Korean War vet living in Anderson Township, who like thousands of older Americans could only see his spouse from a window while she was in a long-term care facility.
- Brushy Creek Reserve in Amelia, which helped veterans deal with post-combat issues through equine therapy.
- Robert Doolan reconnected with the family in the Netherlands that hid him from the Germans during World War II. Doolan, a navigator in a B-17, was shot down in 1943. The family – at risk of death – hid him in a farmhouse until he could make his escape. The family continued to hide others, including 60 other Allied pilots and crew as well as other allies and Jewish families, throughout the war.
- Jennifer Wells first served in Iraq. She was sexually assaulted while deployed. Years later she continued to serve by sharing her story. She does it to help thousands of women who have been assaulted while in the military.
- Mike Monahan could never forget Chico, who helped him find tripwires as part of a K-9 unit while on a patrol team together in Vietnam. Chico saved Monahan's life. He hoped a book about Chico can help save other dogs.
- Navy veteran JoAnn Ortloff remembered playing with plastic Army soldiers as a kid – a toy kids continue to buy by the thousands today. But where were the women soldiers? After she retired in 2015, she did something about that. In October 2020, the first female Army soldiers were included in plastic soldier sets.
- Maurice Thomas continued a decade-long fight for the military benefits he earned. He began his fight with the Department of Veteran Affairs for benefits when he was 60. Now he's 71. He suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. He fights on and as of Nov. 2021 he was filing appeals in his case.
If you have a veteran story to tell in your community, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can join the Homefront Facebook group, follow Craig McKee on Facebook and find more Homefront stories here.