Homicide Hunter: 10 Active Duty Military and Veteran Murder Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

A Killer Always Rings Twice (Season 1, Episode 3):

When 22 year-old Micki Filmore is found raped and murder in her apartment, detective Kenda focuses his investigation on her activities the previous night. Micki was seen dancing with a man who then paid a late night call to her door. -A Killer Always Rings Twice, Homicide Hunter (S1, E3)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘A Killer Always Rings Twice’ on ID: Lt. Joe Kenda Hunts for Serial Rapist & Killer Before He Strikes Again (November 8, 2011)

Secret Life (Season 1, Episode 5):

After Lourdes Riddle in found strangled to death in the trunk of her car, homicide detective Joe Kenda follows the trail through a twisting maze of military and cultural secrets. Just what was Lourdes doing behind her husband’s back? -Secret Life, Homicide Hunter (S1, E5)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Secret Life’ on ID: Fort Carson Soldier Strangled Lourdes Riddle to Silence Sextortion Threats (November 22, 2011)

I Now Pronounce You Dead (Season 2, Episode 1):

Mother of three Dianne Hood is shot to death by a masked gunman on her way home from a Lupus support meeting. Police initially assume it’s a robbery, but Lt. Joe Kenda uncovers a sordid web of lust and greed, revealing a killer no one ever expected. -I Now Pronounce You Dead, Homicide Hunter (S2, E1)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘I Now Pronounce You Dead’ on ID: Jennifer Reali Killed Lover’s Wife Dianne Hood in Colorado Springs (October 2, 2012)

A Gathering of Evil (Season 2, Episode 2):

Teen runaway Maggie Fetty is found strangled to death on a mountain road. An anonymous tipster blames Maggie’s best friend, but she accuses a mental patient with multiple personalities. Kenda must turn the suspects against each other to learn the truth. -A Gathering of Evil, Homicide Hunter (S2, E2)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘A Gathering of Evil’ on ID: Homeless Teen Maggie Fetty Found Murdered in Colorado Springs (October 9, 2012)

The Spy Who Killed Me (Season 2, Episode 4):

Housewife Elsie Jennes is found dead in the basement of her burning home. Lt Joe Kenda has no leads until Elsie’s son, William, turns up in a police station over 50 miles away, equipped with a suitcase, a pet yellow labrador, and a bizarre story to tell. -The Spy Who Killed Me, Homicide Hunter (S2, E4)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘The Spy Who Killed Me’ on ID: William Jennes II Shot & Killed Wife Elspeth ‘Elsie’ Jennes Over Finances (October 30, 2012)

Slaughterhouse Six (Season 2, Episode 5):

Soldier and young father Layne Schmidtke is brutally beaten to death by a mob of teenagers. Kenda must reconstruct the chaotic scene through forensic evidence and witness testimonies, which reveals an unlikely suspect as the murderous ringleader. -Slaughterhouse Six, Homicide Hunter (S2, E5)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Slaughterhouse Six’ on ID: Army Spc. Layne Schmidtke Beat to Death in Unprovoked, Random Attack (November 6, 2012)

Drive Thru Murder (Season 2, Episode 6):

Hard-working fast food manager Missy Berry is found dead in an idling car at a deserted intersection. Kenda discovers suspects from Missy’s past who may have wanted her dead. But a surprise twist in the investigation leads him into uncharted territory. -Drive Thru Murder, Homicide Hunter (S2,E6)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Drive Thru Murder’ on ID: Army Veteran Flees From Colorado After Execution Style Murder & Robbery (November 13, 2012)

Bad Blood (Season 5, Episode 1):

A popular army vet is found bleeding to death on the cold asphalt of a shadowy parking lot -his chest littered with too many knife wounds to count. A gruesome clue leads Kenda’s team to an unlikely killer whose motive for murder is as heartless. -Bad Blood, Homicide Hunter (Preview)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Bad Blood’ on ID: Army Veteran Brandin Penza Found Stabbed to Death in Colorado Springs Parking Lot (August 18, 2015)

Victim Zero (Season 5, Episode 9):

A massive brawl erupts at a local bar ends with the shooting death of a young army soldier. To unravel the murder, Lt. Joe Kenda must infiltrate a revered military institution, and expose a dangerous vendetta. -Victim Zero, Homicide Hunter (Preview)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Victim Zero’ on ID: Fort Carson Soldier Christopher Walton Fatally Shot Outside Colorado Springs Night Club (October 20, 2015)

The Line Goes Dead (Season 6, Episode 13):

When the severed head of a wife and mother is found, Lt. Joe Kenda uses forensics and interrogation to find both her body and her killer. Then… a young man’s murder looks like a robbery gone wrong until Kenda learns the odd reason he’s living there. -The Line Goes Dead, Homicide Hunter (S6,E13)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘The Line Goes Dead’ on ID: Army Spouse Diane Pelkey Reported Missing in Colorado, Found Dead (November 30, 2016)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘The Line Goes Dead’ on ID: Army Veteran Murdered Estranged Wife’s Boyfriend Danny Richmond (November 30, 2016)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
About Homicide Hunter with Lt. Joe Kenda | Investigation Discovery
A Killer Always Rings Twice | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S1, E3)
A Killer Always Rings Twice | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
A Killer Always Rings Twice | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
A Killer Always Rings Twice | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Secret Life | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S1, E5)
Secret Life | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
Secret Life | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Secret Life | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Update: Jennifer Reali | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery
I Now Pronounce You Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S2, E1)
I Now Pronounce You Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
I Now Pronounce You Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
I Now Pronounce You Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
A Gathering of Evil | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S2, E2)
A Gathering of Evil | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (preview)
A Gathering of Evil | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
A Gathering of Evil | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
A Gathering of Evil | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
The Spy Who Killed Me | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (preview)
The Spy Who Killed Me | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S2, E4)
The Spy Who Killed Me | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
The Spy Who Killed Me | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
The Spy Who Killed Me | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Slaughterhouse Six | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S2,E5)
Slaughterhouse Six | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
Slaughterhouse Six | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Slaughterhouse Six | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Drive Thru Murder | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S2,E6)
Drive Thru Murder | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
Drive Thru Murder | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Drive Thru Murder | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Every Body Tells Its Own Story | Homicide Hunter (preview)
Bad Blood | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S5,E1)
Bad Blood | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
Bad Blood | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Bad Blood | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Victim Zero | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (preview)
Victim Zero | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S5,E9)
Victim Zero | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
Victim Zero | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Victim Zero | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S6,E13)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)

Timeline of Veteran Suicides, Legislative Efforts, and Nationwide Negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Military Sexual Trauma – The New Face of PTSD (2007):

The Other PTSD – Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military -NBC Nightly News (May 4, 2007)

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Featured ‘The Other PTSD: Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military’ (May 4, 2007)

Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act (2007):

The House debates the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, which directs the VA to develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans. The bill is named for an Iraq veteran who took his own life, and recognizes the special needs of veterans suffering from PTSD and elderly veterans who are at high risk for depression and experience high rates of suicide. -Rep Leonard Boswell (October 23, 2007)

President George W. Bush Signed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act Into Law (November 5, 2007)

The Number One Problem Combat Vets Will Face is Mental Health (2007):

Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense tells Armen Keteyian that the No. 1 problem facing vets of Afghanistan and Iraq will be mental health. -CBS News (November 13, 2007)

Eye to Eye with Katie Couric on CBS News: Veterans and Suicide (November 13, 2007)

Veterans Who Get Help at VA Are Still at Risk of Suicide (2008):

CBS News first reported on the staggering number of veteran suicides in a report last year. Now, newly-released data shows that vets who get help from the VA are still at risk. -CBS (March 20, 2008)

CBS News: Veteran Suicides An Epidemic (March 20, 2008)

Seven Vets Under VA’s Care Died by Suicide in Washington (2008):

They served their country honorably but after risking their life in combat abroad, coping with coming home was too much. In the last three months seven servicemen being treated by Spokane’s VA Hospital have committed suicide. -4 News Now (April 29, 2008)

Army National Guardsman Spc. Timothy Juneman Died by Suicide; Family Shares Imminent Redeployment to Iraq ‘Major Stressor’ (March 5, 2008)

Senator Patty Murray Alleges VA Cover-up of Veteran Suicide (2008):

Despite recent efforts by the Veterans Administration to prevent veteran suicide, seven have committed suicide in the Inland Northwest in the last four months and US Senator Patty Murray is calling the situation unacceptable. -4 News Now (May 1, 2008)

Senator Patty Murray Calls for Changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Wake of Suicides (May 1, 2008)

“The Betrayal Issues Are Really Deep” (2009):

Katie Couric investigates an alarming trend in the U.S. military, as more and more female soldiers have come forward with tales of sexual abuse at the hands of male soldiers and superior officers. -CBS (March 17, 2009)

Sexual Assault Permeates U.S. Armed Forces (CBS News, March 17, 2009)

Continue reading

Ice Cold Killers: Five Military & Veteran Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

1. Thomas Richard Bunday, U.S. Air Force

The tiny town of North Pole, Alaska is a quiet, safe haven best known for Santa Claus. But when the bodies of young women begin turning up one by one, investigators slowly piece together the clues and discover the unlikeliest of killers. -North Pole Slay Ride, Ice Cold Killers (S1,E4)

Ice Cold Killers Premiered ‘North Pole Slay Ride’ on ID: Five Victims Found Murdered Near Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska (January 1, 2013)

2. Robert Hansen, Army Reserve Veteran

Robert Hansen was a mild-mannered family man with a passion for hunting. A master at his trade, Hansen sought a more challenging prey – his fellow human. Hansen kidnapped women, set them loose in the Alaskan wilderness, and hunted them down for sport. -Hunting Humans, Ice Cold Killers (S1,E1)

Ice Cold Killers Premiered ‘Hunting Humans’ on ID: After Multiple Disappearances, Alaska Authorities on Hunt for Serial Killer (January 24, 2012)

3. Israel Keyes, Army Veteran

Preview: Israel Keyes stitched his victims eye’s open, so that it appeared as if she was still alive. -The Secrets of Isreal Keyes, Dark Minds (December 11, 2014)

Dark Minds Premiered ‘The Secrets of Isreal Keyes’ on ID: M. William Phelps Investigates One of the Most Prolific Serial Killers in America (April 2, 2014)

4. Michael Silka, Army Veteran

Manley Hot Springs, Alaska is a remote mountain hide-a-way known for simplicity and solitude. But, that innocent existence is shattered when a newcomer goes on rampage and guns down residents one by one, ultimately taking out one tenth of the town. -Frozen Carnage, Ice Cold Killers (S1,E5)

Ice Cold Killers Premiered ‘Frozen Carnage’ on Investigation Discovery: Army Veteran Michael Silka Went on Killing Spree in Alaska (January 8, 2013)

5. Vietnam Veteran Carl ‘Rick’ Beery & Deborah Rehor Murdered

The backwoods brush of Chulitna is the perfect spot for rafting, panning for gold, fishing and murder. When one couple is reported missing, troopers discover theyre the victims of cold-blooded murder and must begin a manhunt for the killer. -Mountain Man, Ice Cold Killers (S1,E3)

Ice Cold Killers Premiered ‘Mountain Man’ on ID: Paul Stavenjord Killed Vietnam Vet Carl Beery & Deborah Rehor in Chulitna, Alaska (April 1, 2012)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
About the Show | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery
About the Show | Dark Minds | Investigation Discovery
North Pole Slay Ride | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (S1,E4)
North Pole Slay Ride | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (website)
North Pole Slay Ride | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Hunting Humans | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (S1,E1)
Hunting Humans | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (website)
Hunting Humans | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Dark Minds: What Israel Keyes Did To This Woman Will Shock You (Preview)
The Secrets of Israel Keyes Part 1 | Dark Minds | Investigation Discovery (S3,E1)
The Secrets of Israel Keyes Part 1 | Dark Minds | Investigation Discovery (website)
The Secrets of Israel Keyes Part 1 | Dark Minds | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
The Secrets of Israel Keyes Part 2 | Dark Minds | Investigation Discovery (S3,E2)
The Secrets of Israel Keyes Part 2 | Dark Minds | Investigation Discovery (website)
The Secrets of Israel Keyes Part 2 | Dark Minds | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Frozen Carnage | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (S1,E5)
Frozen Carnage | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (website)
Frozen Carnage | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Mountain Man | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (S1,E3)
Mountain Man | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (website)
Mountain Man | Ice Cold Killers | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Game of Homes’ on Investigation Discovery: Escalating Feud Between Sheila Bonge and Michigan Neighbors Leads to Murder (August 8, 2019)

ID Go: New neighbors, disrupt the harmony that has existed between residents for years. Alliances change and terror reigns until a winter storm puts a bloody end to the feud. -Game of Homes, Fear Thy Neighbor (S6,E2)


In the News:

Sheila Bonge’s sister, Val Flaherty, reacts to Wendell Popejoy’s sentencing at the Ottawa County Courthouse in Grand Haven on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. Popejoy was convicted of murder in the Dec. 26, 2017, killing of his neighbor, Sheila Bonge, in Crockery Township. Bonge was shot while she was snowblowing an easement that she, Popejoy and another neighbor used to get to their driveways. He received a life sentence. -MLive (Nov. 5, 2018)

Fear Thy Neighbor – “Game of Homes” — Teaser #1 (August 2, 2019)

Fear Thy Neighbor – “Game of Homes” — Teaser #2 (August 6, 2019)

Fear Thy Neighbor – “Game of Homes” — Preview (August 8, 2019)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Fear Thy Neighbor – “Game of Homes” — Teaser #1
Fear Thy Neighbor – “Game of Homes” — Teaser #2
Fear Thy Neighbor – “Game of Homes” — Preview
Game of Homes | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S6,E2)
Game of Homes | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (website)
Game of Homes | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Fear Thy Neighbor: 23 Veteran Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery
Man confesses to killing neighbor clearing snow from his driveway
Report: Man told police he shot ‘nuisance’ neighbor in ‘snap decision’ killing
Docs: Man confessed to shooting neighbor who was snowblowing
This man saw his neighbor snowblowing his driveway. So he shot her from behind, police say
In Mich. neighbor feud, some side with suspected killer
Man regrets killing ‘nuisance’ neighbor blowing snow in his driveway
After shooting abusive neighbor: ‘Not really sorry she’s gone’
He killed his neighbor: She kept doing this, and I snapped
Crime Hunter: Death of a nasty neighbour | Toronto Sun
Wendall Popejoy charged with murder in death of Sheila Bonge, who was found in the woods
Accused in Nunica Woman’s Murder Bound Over for Trial
Jurors hear confession in ‘nuisance’ neighbor’s death
Jurors hear confession in ‘nuisance’ neighbor’s death 2
Michigan jurors hear confession in ‘nuisance’ neighbor’s death
‘There’s a dead lady behind your house,’ compelling audio shared in day two of Wendell Popejoy trial
Neighbors at murder trial: Victim was ‘horrible, mean’
Girlfriend of man who allegedly killed his neighbor takes stand on third day of his trial
Detectives testify at Popejoy murder trial
Guy Who Killed Snowblowing Neighbor Learns Fate
Man convicted of killing neighbor while she cleared snow
Ottawa County man convicted of killing neighbor while she cleared snow
Man convicted of killing neighbor during snow blowing dispute
‘It’s time to hold Mr. Popejoy accountable’
Popejoy receives life sentence for killing neighbor blowing snow in his driveway
Michigan man sentenced to life for neighbor’s fatal shooting
Michigan man sentenced to life for neighbor’s fatal shooting
Murder of Sheila Bonge by Wendell Popejoy highlighted on Fear Thy Neighbor
Sheila Bonge, Wendell Popejoy: Watch ‘Fear Thy Neighbor Games Of Homes’–Snowblower-Easement Shooting Death Case

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘A Killer View’ on ID: Neighborhood Dispute Between Clyde Reddicks and Jeffrey Flaugher Turns Deadly (August 1, 2019)

ID Go: A young family builds their dream home in the Kentucky Hills, but their heaven is hell for the quiet couple living next door. And a dispute over a shared road leads to fireworks, fury, and cold-blooded murder. -A Killer View, Fear Thy Neighbor (S6,E1)

On July 16, 2004, decorated Vietnam veteran Clyde Reddicks fatally shot Jeffrey Flaugher and Teresa Leadingham in their Grayson, Kentucky home after a sustained campaign of neighborhood disputes and gaslighting. Reddicks was facing the death penalty for capital murder but in July 2006 opted to plead guilty, but mentally ill to two counts of first-degree manslaughter, one count of second-degree burglary, and three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. Clyde Reddicks was sentenced to 18 years for each manslaughter count, with the terms to run concurrently, ten years for the burglary charge, and seven years for the wanton endangerment counts which run consecutively with the manslaughter term. Clyde Reddicks died of cancer after serving just six years in prison.

Post Traumatic Stress is not a justification for murder.” -Det. Robert Garnes, Kentucky State Police (A Killer View, Fear Thy Neighbor)

YouTube:

A Killer View, Fear Thy Neighbor, Cream Productions (July 29, 2019)

A Killer View | Fear Thy Neighbor | Cream Productions (July 31, 2019)

A Killer View | Fear Thy Neighbor | Cream Productions (August 1, 2019)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Teresa Ann Criswell (1974-2004)
Jeffery Lynn “Bub” Flaugher, Jr (1978-2004)
Clyde “Junior” Reddicks, Jr (1944-2012)
Neighbor Feud Ends In Murder
Vietnam flashbacks blamed in murders
Clyde Reddicks pleads guilty to lesser charges
Couple sentenced in neighbors’ deaths
Parade Lawsuit Settled
Eastern Ky. man settles with city, county over parade ban
Clyde Reddicks, Jeffrey “Bub” Flaugher: Watch ‘Fear Thy Neighbor A Killer View,’–Vietnam Vet, Fireworks Feud In Kentucky
A Killer View | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (Teaser)
A Killer View | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (Teaser 2)
A Killer View | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (Fireworks & Fury)
A Killer View | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S6,E1)
A Killer View | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (website)
A Killer View | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Fear Thy Neighbor: 23 Veteran Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Simple Kindness: Easy Ways to Repay Our Veterans for Their Service (July 31, 2019)

DeployOrg.com.png

(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Guest post by Kelli Brewer, DeployCare.org

Simple Kindness: Easy Ways to Repay Our Veterans for Their Service 

It can be very difficult for the average American, especially those with no military experience, to appreciate the mental, physical, and financial impact that years of military service can have. The situation comes into focus when you consider that there are more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 800,000 in the country’s reserve forces.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, family problems, and lack of employment opportunities can place a huge obstacle in the way of returning service members who just want things to return to normal. Unfortunately, it’s often not that easy, especially for those who return with debilitating injuries. If you’re looking for a way to help out, here are a few ideas.

Say ‘Thank You’

The Vietnam War experience taught Americans that returning service members can be seriously affected by the nature of their return. If it’s critical or indifferent, veterans may feel unsupported and unappreciated. And while today’s military personnel typically don’t face the kind of harsh criticism that confronted Vietnam-era servicemen and servicewomen, they can still be powerfully impacted by a lack of support and understanding. If you want to help a veteran, acknowledge their service by shaking their hand or offering a sincere “Thank you.”

The Health Care They Need

Veterans, particularly seniors, need to understand how their health insurance works. For those enrolled in Medicare Part A or B, there are several out-of-pocket costs, and to complicate matters further, plans often change from year to year. Fortunately, you can enroll in a Medigap plan, which may provide more of the benefits you need. For example, Plan F covers the deductible that comes with Medicare Part B, though certain changes to this particular benefit will go into effect beginning in 2020. Knowing your coverage and understanding how Medicare functions is essential for getting the most out of your coverage.

Help Veterans Reintegrate Socially

A soldier who returns home without a job or without access to social services may feel lost and alone. Consider organizing an event for returning service members, perhaps schedule an evening at the movies, an informal dinner setting, or get together every week at a nearby coffee shop. Make it a venue where everyone can talk about their experiences, hopes, and frustrations.

If you have a relationship with a veteran, offer to help out in specific ways. For example, if your friend has trouble scheduling a medical or therapy appointment, reach out by offering to babysit or offer to give them a ride if they lack transportation. There are many ways to volunteer, just by making efforts of simple goodwill.

Finding Work

Veterans often find that the skills they learned in the military don’t translate well into steady employment once they’re discharged. That can be especially true of veterans who lack a degree or some form of higher education. If you’re a business owner or have access to human resources personnel at work, why not put in a good word for a veteran who’s having trouble latching on somewhere? Your company will earn tax credits for hiring veterans. Sometimes, a foot in the door is all a veteran needs to impress a prospective employer.

Be a Willing Listener

You don’t have to be close friends with a service member who just needs a sympathetic ear. Give a veteran an opportunity to share their experiences. You really don’t need to say much, just be present in the moment and listen without judging or criticizing. It’s a simple but important gesture because many have no one to talk to, no outlet for their frustrations and anxieties.

Simple gestures are sometimes the best way to help veterans, service members, and their families. Be willing to provide the kind of support and assistance you’d offer to anyone. It’ll make you feel great and it’s a great way to thank our military heroes for their service. 

James Fields Jr. Sentenced to Life in Prison Plus 419 Years & $480,000 in Fines for the Charlottesville, Virginia Car Attack Resulting in the Death of Heather Heyer (July 15, 2019)

James Fields Jr., 20, from Ohio, was charged with second-degree murder after killing Heather Heyer, 32, and critically injuring several others when he drove his vehicle into a crowd of protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia. The protestors that he harmed were counter protesting a “white nationalist” protest. According to police records, Fields was previously accused of beating his mother and threatening her with a knife. James Fields Jr. served in the active duty Army for about four months from August to December 2015. He was discharged after failing out of basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia. Fields was denied bail. On June 28, 2019, a federal judge sentenced James Fields Jr. to life in prison for 29 hate crimes. On July 15, 2019, Fields Jr. was sentenced to life in prison plus 419 years and $480,000 in fines by the State of Virginia for the Charlottesville car attack.

In the News:

James Alex Fields Jr. is behind bars after he allegedly plowed his car into a crowd of people protesting against a white nationalist rally in Virginia. -ABC News (August 13, 2017)

James Fields, the white nationalist who killed Heather Heyer by ramming his car into a crowd of protesters at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia has been sentenced to life in prison. -NowThis News (June 28, 2019)

An avowed white supremacist who plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a young woman, apologized to his victims Friday before being sentenced to life in prison on hate crime charges. -Bloomberg TicToc (June 28, 2019)

The man who deliberately drove through a crowd of people in Charlottesville, Virginia, has received another life sentence. Dozens were wounded and one person was killed. -CBS News (July 15, 2019)

Related Links:
James Alex Fields, Jr. : 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Who Is James Alex Fields Jr: 7 Facts to Know About Man Charged in Charlottesville Car Killing
What We Know About James Alex Fields, the Driver Charged in the Charlottesville Attack
James Alex Fields Jr: Full Story & Must-See Details Of Racist Charlottesville Murderer
Who is James Alex Fields Jr., arrested for deadly car attack at white nationalists rally?
Rally murder suspect is an Army dropout ‘infatuated with Nazis’
Teacher: Charlottesville car crash suspect discussed radical views
Teacher says suspected Charlottesville driver James Alex Fields Jr. showed extremist ideologies in high school
Alleged driver of car that plowed into Charlottesville crowd was a Nazi sympathizer, former teacher says
James Alex Fields Jr.: Charlottesville suspect was in the Army, spokesperson says
Charlottesville Driver Who Rammed Crowd Washed Out of Army
What We Know About James Alex Fields, Driver Charged in Charlottesville Killing
Charlottesville Murder Suspect James Alex Fields May Be A Veteran, But He Was Never A Soldier
Army: Charlottesville Driver Kicked Out Of Active Duty After Failing Basic Training
James Fields flunked out of basic Army training, denied bail in Charlottesville case
Charlottesville Suspect James Alex Fields Jr. Denied Bond at First Court Appearance
Mom previously accused Virginia driver of beating her; Bail denied
Man charged in Charlottesville attack failed training at Fort Benning
James A. Fields Jr., avowed neo-Nazi in Charlottesville car attack, sentenced to life in prison
Charlottesville White Nationalist James Fields Gets Life in Prison; Prosecutors, FBI React | NowThis
Mother of Heather Heyer Speaks Out After Charlottesville White Supremacist Sentenced to Life
Man gets life plus 419 years in Charlottesville attack
White supremacist James Fields sentenced to life for Virginia car attack
Neo-Nazi James Fields Gets 2nd Life Sentence For Charlottesville Attack
Man Who Killed Heather Heyer at Charlottesville Sentenced to Life In Prison, Plus 419 Years
Man gets life plus 419 years in deadly Charlottesville car attack
Avowed neo-Nazi James Fields sentenced to life in prison for Charlottesville hate crimes
Charlottesville car rammer James Alex Fields gets life plus 419 years for state charges
White-Nationalist Charlottesville Killer Given Extra Life Sentence Plus 419 Years in Prison
Neo-Nazi who drove car into Charlottesville crowd given second life sentence
James Fields Jr. Sentenced to Second Life Term in Charlottesville Rally Car Attack
White supremacist James Fields Jr. handed second life sentence for 2017 Charlottesville murder
James Fields Jr. Drove Into a Group of Protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia Killing Heather Heyer and Injuring Several Others; Sentenced to Life in Prison (August 12, 2017)