Veterans in Crisis

Dear Supporters,

Every day in this America we lose an average of 20 veterans to suicide. Many veterans, particularly in rural areas, are losing access to the needed services Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFWs) provide.

My goal is to publish a photography book that can reach a place in the heart that words alone are incapable of touching and to be a catalyst for a national conversation on how veterans are treated. I hope you will consider joining me in this effort with your donation.

Today, VFW posts in the U.S. have declined from 9,000 to 6,000 since 1992 while membership has fallen from 2 to 1.1 million. Many veterans are not getting the support they once had in their communities.

The suicide rate among Gulf War Era veterans ages 18-24 has risen nearly fivefold to an all-time high: 124 per 100,000, 10 times the national average. Young veterans aren't joining their local VFWs to get help with the massive paperwork needed for everything from healthcare to other benefits.

In 2018, the Veterans Administration (VA) did not spend the millions allocated for suicide prevention and mental health outreach. Of the $17.7 million total budget for veterans mental health care, $6.2 million was allocated for suicide prevention paid media. ONLY $57,000 was spent! That is a crisis! 

With your help, my photography book will show that VFW posts have suffered from a war of attrition, many demolished for gentrification and others abandoned or falling into disrepair from neglect and lack of funding. The social fabric of veterans has suffered as a result at a time when America has been in continuous wars since the early 2000s. The story of these posts is the story of America, once united, now divided and disconnected from our roots.

Now more than ever VFWs need more members to help veterans in need. My book aims to help:

-Raise awareness of veterans in crisis
-Create a national conversation about the decline of VFW posts and membership
-Help increase VFW membership
-Help reduce veteran suicides
-Advocate for veterans benefits

Your dollars will be used for:

-High quality book design and production
-Outreach to support our veterans with a traveling photography exhibition 

As a veteran and a life member of the VFW, passing these posts brings a sadness for what I feel is a metaphor for our treatment of those who served. I began photographing them, hoping to bring awareness to a disregard for the honor of the men and women who defend our country. It became a mission and to date I have documented 110 posts by driving nearly 17,000 miles to 47 states with a goal of photographing at least one VFW post in all 50 states. 

I have spent twenty thousand dollars of my own money traveling to take these historical images. I believe these photographs can be a mirror, reminding us that in neglect we show a loss of conscience that contributes to a continuing decline of our democracy.

To move forward, I need your help with funding to get a book published and distributed by a reputable national publisher so others can be inspired to help veterans too.

You can view my project website at:

http://www.teridarnell.com/vfw-project.html

If you donate a $100 or more, I will send you a signed 8" x 12" limited edition archival inkjet print from one of the images in my VFW project collection.

Please help me support our veterans.  Your dollars count.

Thank you so very much,

Teri Darnell

Donations ()

  • Dale Niles 
    • 50 $ 
    • 1 mo
  • Beate Sass 
    • 50 $ 
    • 1 mo
  • Lucie Canfield  
    • 50 $ 
    • 1 mo
  • Laurie Shock 
    • 75 $ 
    • 1 mo
  • John Cobb 
    • 25 $ 
    • 1 mo
See all

Organizer

Teri Darnell 
Organizer
Atlanta, GA
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