JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA, UNITED STATES
To help overcome these challenges, servicemembers participated in the “I Was There” film workshop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, April 11-14. The four-day event provides Soldiers the tools needed to effectively communicate with their loved ones through a creative short film.
“It’s kind of a filmmaking workshop where we come in and teach the basics of story telling and kind of help people tell their stories about their experiences in the military,” said Aileen Sheedy, an “I Was There” instructor.
The workshop is part of the Patton Veterans Project, a nonprofit organization that was started by Benjamin Patton, grandson of World War II General George Patton. “I Was There” is geared toward helping veterans face challenges from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other conditions.
Through “I Was There,” veterans had the opportunity to share their experiences and relate with other servicemembers who have gone through similar challenges. According to Sheedy, the program lets servicemebers know they are not alone.
During the workshop, Soldiers broke down into teams and together planned, shot, and edited short films that helped them express challenges they faced throughout their military career.
Some of these challenges can be simple things such as how Soldiers present themselves compared to their civilian family and friends.
“Family members don’t always understand the hardships of military life, and it can be a challenge in itself for the families, causing a disconnect between them,” said Sgt. Annabelyn Verdeflor, a respiratory specialist with the 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade, and first-time “I Was There” participant.
Her team’s story idea was to show the differences between civilians and military. She talked about a time when her mother asked her to drive her to an appointment and how she automatically started making plans to ensure her mother made the appointment on time.
“She (mom) gave me a timeline, and I’m like where’s the address, and I start ‘Googling’ maps, and I’m thinking in my head, ‘how’s the traffic,’” said Verdeflor.
“In the military we live by certain standards, always prompt, doing our (primary maintenance checks and services); If given a timeline be there ten minutes prior, so there’s a difference in our culture. We unconsciously expect others outside of the military to abide by those same principles. We’ve incorporated this into our lives, the military. When we go home with family and friends, that’s where there is a disconnect.”
According to the group’s mission statement, the videos are designed to help family and friends better understand what a Soldier is going through, whether it is challenges of military life, PTSD, TBI or any other issue. At the completion of the videos, veterans have the opportunity to showcase their video and explain the process and meaning behind it.
“This program helps people open up and being able to film something is sometimes easier then just talking about it,” said Sheedy.
For more information on the workshop, go to iwastherefilms.org/.
||JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA, US
||MANCELONA, MI, US
||NEW ORLEANS, LA, US
||PORTLAND, OR, US
This work, Soldiers express themselves through a creative short video, by SGT Sinthia Rosario, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.