The Invisible Ones
My husband and I recently produced a documentary called “The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans” The Invisible Ones and one of the people whom we met while videotaping interviews, John Smith, a decorated war veteran, recently passed. And still young, like Ronnie. These Vietnam vets are slipping away almost as fast – and at the same time – as the WW2 guys. It’s like our history is seeping away before we can get a grasp on it.
This documentary is so important to share and spread the education with others. Please think about what you can do to help the problem too!
Help the Cause!
American War Heroes Are Sleeping On Our Streets
With all the vehicles on the streets of America sporting those little yellow “Support Our Troops,” ribbons, it is truly ironic that we have more than 200,000 veterans who are homeless. But not many Americans realize it.
Mark Schulze and Patty Mooney, of Crystal Pyramid Productions, a San Diego video production company, shot footage at the 20th anniversary of Stand Down in 2007 for the Veterans Administration (VA). Stand Down is a three-day event that allows homeless veterans to come in off the streets for a shower, hot meals and a change of clothing. Additionally, the veterans receive medical, dental and holistic treatment, as well as counseling and legal advice from caring volunteers. The San Diego Stand Down became the model for dozens of other Stand Downs that have been generated across the country by people who thought it a tragedy to have our war heroes sleeping on our streets.
Schulze and Mooney were shocked to learn of the huge number of homeless veterans in the U.S. After spending two days interviewing and getting to know some of the men and women who had served our country, some without limbs, and all without homes, Mooney broke down in tears. “Three days of reprieve from the streets and now they have to go back out there. We have to do something for them!” Schulze said, “Why don’t we do what we do best? Let’s make a documentary.”
It took a year for the couple to make “The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans.” They interviewed Congressman Bob Filner, Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee; Congresswoman Susan Davis, Chair of the Military Personnel Committee; Gary Becks, Director of Rescue Task Force; Dr. Jon Nachison, Co-Founder of San Diego Stand Down; Al Pavich, Former Commander and Retired CEO of VVSD (Veterans Village of San Diego); Darcy Pavich, Chaplain and Stand Down Coordinator; Brigadier General Bob Cardenas; Robert Schmidt, Director of Vince Lombardi Association; Jessica Brian and Michael Kilmer, Veterans Administration Outreach Therapists, and several homeless veterans.
All contributions to this documentary have been pro bono, even down to the music, box cover graphics, website creation and DVD replication. Mooney edited at night and on weekends, grappling with technical difficulties, and whenever she thought of quitting, she remembered, “there are veterans who are homeless tonight and we have to help them.”
The documentary has won several national awards: a Platinum Ava, a Gold Aurora, an Accolade Award of Merit, a Gold Hermes Award and a Telly Award, in recognition of its contribution to profound social change. It was also featured at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival in May 2009.
Churches, veterans associations, philanthropy clubs and others may request the DVD for free and share it with their members. Several local church groups have shown the DVD to their members and collected sizable donations for VVSD. All revenue generated from sales and showings of the documentary are given to VVSD so that they can continue their valuable work in assisting homeless veterans. Learn how you may be of assistance to homeless veterans. Money is welcome; volunteering your time is priceless. Walk the Walk!