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Proud To Be Podcast  

The Proud To Be Podcast highlights veterans, military personnel, and family members published in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors—a creative writing anthology that preserves and shares our nation’s military experience through poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and photography.

The podcast features interviews with PTB contributors from all over the nation as we discover their military affiliation and real-life stories behind their PTB contributions. 

Available on all podcast apps. Click the button below to find your preferred platform. New episodes will be released on the last Thursday of every month. Don’t forget to listen, rate, & subscribe!

Please note: Listener discretion is advised. Some of the episodes address difficult topics. If you are in crisis and need to speak with a Veterans Crisis Responder, please call 1-800-273-8255.

Episode Five: Valerie Young
Valerie Young is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces. She served approximately ten years, with a deployment to Iraq and Hurricane Katrina. She is a loving mother of two, an aspiring writer, and a servant leader in her community who is passionate about her personal growth and expressing herself through poetry.
 
In this episode, Valerie speaks openly about trauma, addiction, and rehabilitation associated with the aftermath of serving in a war and a natural disaster. We discuss the necessity of addressing stigma around veterans with PTSD, embracing support systems for recovery, community service, and advocating for mental health awareness through her poetry—both on paper and on the stage.
 

In this segment, Valerie reads the following excerpts from Proud to Be:

“To My Fellow Vets” from PTB, Volume 3
“A Soldier’s Bottle” from PTB, Volume 5
“Suffer In Silence” from PTB, Volume 10

Episode Four: Randy “Sherpa” Brown

Randy Brown is a former citizen-soldier, poet, and secret blogger. In 2011, he embedded with his former Iowa Army National Guard unit as a civilian journalist in Afghanistan. He is the author of the award-winning poetry collection, “Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire.” Randy has been published in nine of the ten volumes of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors.

In this episode, we learn how Randy merged his military communication and journalism skills as a technical writer and blogger, incorporates army jargon and humor into his writing, and expresses his military experience in the form of haiku. We discuss the concept of “poetry of witness,” the connectedness of the war-writing community, and engaging in meaningful conversation beyond the phrase, “Thank you for your service.” Randy even reveals the story behind his pseudonym, “Charlie Sherpa.”

In this segment, Randy reads the following excerpts from Proud to Be:

“what sacrifice has been” from PTB, Volume 1
“a Radio-Telephone Operator writes haiku” from PTB, Volume 4
“Suburbistan” from PTB, Volume

Episode Three: Charity Winters

Charity Winters is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and a freelance writer. During her six years on active duty, as an Air Force Security Forces officer, she completed three tours in Iraq. Charity has been published in six of the nine volumes of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors.

In this episode, we learn about Charity’s different security missions in Iraq, her special military connection with the island of Guam and her grandfather, and the Vietnam veteran who encouraged her to pursue writing. We discuss the necessity of women’s voices in telling wartime stories, the importance of veterans in the arts, and the value of words as we explore the profound effect the phrase, “bring me men” had on her and other female cadets.

In this segment, Charity reads the following excerpts from Proud to Be:

“Kaboom” from PTB, Volume 5
“Coming Up Americans” from PTB, Volume 8

Episode Two: Bill Glose

Bill Glose is an American journalist, poet, and fiction writer. Bill has been published in eight of the nine volumes of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors.

In this episode, we dive deep into Bill’s experience as a paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne and his service as a combat platoon leader in the Gulf War. We discuss when and why he started writing about his combat experiences, his post-army years working in factories across the country, and his decision to walk away from a production career to become a full-time freelance writer.

In this segment, Bill reads the following excerpts from Proud to Be:

“Raised by Black Scorpions” from PTB, Volume 5
“What the Bomb Wants?” from PTB, Volume 8

Episode One: Jay Harden

Jay Harden, a Vietnam War veteran, who writes poetry, prose, and songs about love, war, and personal growth. Jay has been published in all nine volumes of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors and is known as the “Grandfather of Proud to Be.”

In this episode, we learn about Jay’s “Metal Mama” and his wartime experience while stationed in Guam—his thoughts on war and how one struggles to find oneself after the fact. Jay openly shares about his healing journey and the role writing plays in helping with his PTSD.

In this segment, Jay reads the following excerpts from Proud to Be:

“No Wonder War” from PTB, Volume 6
“Raging River” from PTB, Volume 2
“Unboot Camp: An Imagined TED Talk” from PTB, Volume 5