(C) Carolyn P. Hartley, MLA
At a time when patriotism divides our nation, the images of catastrophically wounded men and women whose stories are told in The Weight of Honor, will convict you to honor those who served, no matter how strongly you think you are right.
The Weight of Honor, a documentary produced by Emmy-award winning filmmakers, Stephanie Seldin Howard and Rodger Howard of Core Issue Productions, brings you intimately into the homes of families, uprooted from ideals that would be their American dream. Through empathetic storytelling, the film-making team will take you where life is untenable, raw, and exposed. You may want to look away, but don’t.
Tasks once as simple as going to church or out to dinner now require a stabilizing Plan B in case the situation becomes too stressful. Once silent in their caregiving, The Weight of Honor gives voice to the women who have stood beside their loved ones, facing the challenges ahead.
Luana Schnieder fought for her son, Scott to receive a prosthetic leg after they were told he would never be able to receive one due to the severity of his burns. She became her son’s advocate between the military and the VA, ensuring he would receive the highest rating for medical retirement and an easier transition to the VA health system.
Kelly Stephenson closed her photography business to care for her severely burned husband. Even though he requires 24/7 assistance, the VA compensated Kelly with the lowest allowance tier for caregivers – $500 a month, and also denied a stair lift that would minimize falls. Yet, with help from family, Kelly and her husband have found a way to re-energize her business.
Micah lost both legs, among other injuries. His wife, Linzi and new born son rushed to be at his side at Brooke Army Medical Center. While there, Micah’s medical care has included 80 operations, procedures, and fights with deadly fungal infections.
Gina and husband Allen are in a better place today, but his severe PTSD and injuries after his Humvee hit an IED isolated them, until they worked through physical, spiritual, and emotional healing.
The film has an official film distributor you can purchase The Weight of Honor for $12.99 through Amazon video, iTunes, Vimeo, or Virgil DVD. To schedule a screening and invite several of the caregivers featured in The Weight of Honor to speak to your organization, click here.
I was deeply touched by this honorable and extraordinary film, and hope you will have the same or better experience. The loving perseverance of a spouse or parent caregiver may just compel you to offer up even the smallest prayer of hope to make their lives better.