5 Stories of Remarkable U.S. Veterans and the Americans Who Support Them

Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

Throughout the year, TakePart highlights veterans who give back even after they've returned to civilian life and individuals who support our service members when they return home from war.

This Veterans Day, we bring you five standout stories of service.


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Veteran John McLaughlin says returning to the farm to teach kids about farming was when the healing began. (Photo: Jenny Inglee)

Farmer-Veteran Coalition Heals Vets Down on the Organic Farm

What if there were a way to help our Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans re-enter society and find an enjoyable career that also healed the trauma of combat?

Michael O'Gorman, one of the pioneers of the organic food movement and founder of the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, may have done just that—through the rejuvenating power of growing delicious and healthy food.

A father of a young veteran, O'Gorman started the Farmer-Veteran Coalition after he learned that many men and women from rural and farming communities were entering the Army.

When they came back, they were left with trauma and a lack of employment opportunities. Read more.


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Veteran Aurthur Williams is very happy living with Gayle Haynes. (Photo c/o Gayle Haynes)

Heroes Meet Angels Brings Foster Care to Elderly Veterans

Civilians across America are opening their hearts and homes to elderly veterans.

As an alternative to nursing homes, the Department of Veterans Affairs program Medical Foster Home - Where Heroes Meet Angels matches caring Americans with elderly veterans needing daily assistance due to disabling or chronic conditions.

One of the special pairs is Gayle Haynes and Arthur Williams.

Williams is, as he says, “68 years young,” and has spent “20 years, 29 days and eight hours” in the U.S. Air Force.

Haynes says, "Mr. Williams is just like family. He’s so much like family.” Read more.


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The three vets had to work together to reach the top of Africa's tallest peak. (Photo: Reed Hoffman/Disabled Sports USA)

Trio of U.S. Veterans, All Amputees, Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, proved to be no match for three determined military veterans.

With just one organic leg between them, the trio from three different wars completed an ascent of the 19,248-foot peak in Tanzania.

The soldiers are: Neil Duncan, a 26-year-old Afghanistan vet and double amputee; Dan Nevins, a 39-year-old vet who lost both legs in Iraq; and Kirk Bauer, a 62-year-old veteran who lost a leg in Vietnam. Read more.


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Pam Bennett advocates for vets and LGBT men and women. (Photo: Pam Bennett)

Women Who Rock: Transgender Veteran, Pam Bennett

Afraid to run for office because you might have a skeleton in the closet?

Pam Bennett has some advice. "If I can run, you can run," she'll tell you with a laugh. "I am the skeleton in the closet." Pam is a transgender military veteran and is very active in politics. "It all comes down to accepting yourself," she says.

Today, Bennett advocates for veterans and LGBT people and encourages women to enter politics. Read more.


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Through A Million Thanks, Fleming realized how much our support means to our troops. (Photo: A Million Thanks)

Join Shauna Fleming in Giving Our Troops A Million Thanks

Over the past six years, 21-year-old Shauna Fleming and her organization A Million Thanks have collected and sent more than 5 million thank you cards and letters to U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other parts of the world.

Her national call to action started when she was just 15 years old.

After 9/11, says Fleming, “You could walk outside and see flags and yellow ribbons on every house. Slowly that started to decline. I wanted our country to remember that we still had troops fighting for us and they deserve to be recognized and appreciated.” Read more.


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