From the Director
A story about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as told by a female combat Veteran during her interview on Oprah inspired me to change the course of my entire life.
Sitting in my living room in 2009, I listened as a Veteran – a mom – described her life after losing her arm in the war and the impact that had on her ability to do what so many mothers do each day, simply make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her child.
I’m a civilian. I am not a journalist. I didn’t set out to be a war reporter or a filmmaker, yet hearing this woman share her story moved me. I wanted to know – what really happens when combat Veterans come home from war? And how can we, as a community, better support their transition?
At the invitation of Task Force Medical East, I spent just over 3 ½ months as a solo embed with the U.S. military in Afghanistan, interviewing and filming with over 100 women service members. I returned to the US, built a team, and we selected eight women to follow through their first two years of reintegration home. The result is hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews where combat Veterans and their families delve into their own experiences so that we might better understand. Their candor is profoundly insightful.
The women of Journey to Normal are the girls next door who do extraordinary things. My hope is that you, too, will find inspiration in their incredible stories. At JTN, Inc., we are on a mission to help bridge the military civilian cultural gap in understanding. On behalf of our team, I welcome you to the Journey!!
– JulieHera DeStefano