Image courtesy of Gathering of Eagles

PROJECT SUPPORT

The following are excerpts from letters of support for our
film Elephant Grass


In This Section:
  • Disabled American Veterans
  • Secretary of State John F. Kerry
  • International Conference of War Veteran Ministers
  • The Military Family Network
  • Give An Hour

  • Disabled American Veterans
    On behalf of the more than 3 million disabled veterans and their families, I extend to you our heartfelt gratitude for your efforts to educate and enlighten the public on the “invisible wound” that is post-traumatic stress disorder through your film “Elephant Grass”.

    The DAV is particularly indebted considering the incredibly high incidents of PTSD that are common among veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Post-traumatic stress disorder is a natural reaction to very unnatural conditions. Few people are exposed to shock and traumatic events than men and woman who suffer as a result of their wartime military service.

    As you are aware, the fight to recognize PTSD and stress-related disorders is one of the DAV’s greatest accomplishments---one we share with many dedicated advocates like yourself who recognize the strain of wars psychological implications for warriors.

    “Elephant Grass” is under production at a time when a substantial generation gap exists between Vietnam era veterans and veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. We hope your film will remind all of us to start talking about PTSD. In doing so, we hope my generation of warriors can reach out to this newly-affected generation and act as mentors and guides for these young men and women.

    David, you are telling a story that needs to be told at a critical time in our nation’s history. We thank you also for your patriotic commitment to our nation’s disabled veterans and their families and earnestly hope that you are able to get the support needed to make this film a reality.

    Arthur H. Wilson, National Adjutant
    Disabled Vietnam Veteran
    U.S. Air Force

    Secretary of State John F. Kerry written when he was a US Senator from Massachusetts
    Elephant Grass is a story that needs to be told. I am glad someone of your talent and unique perspective will be the one to tell it.

    Each and every year war leaves behind all kinds of scars – and although we’ve made progress in recent years, the pain of PTSD is still far too underreported and misunderstood. We all know friends and brothers in arms who suffer the horrifying nightmares of war too often when they close their eyes praying for a good night’s sleep. This film will honor them by honoring their struggle, and it should help bring attention to a cause the entire nation must address when brave Americans return home from any war in any era.

    PTSD is a difficult subject for many veterans to talk about. It’s difficult to make people understand. I hope Elephant Grass will help bridge that gap. And if there was ever a time to educate Americans about PTSD, it’s now.

    Filmmaking is at its best when it raises awareness and empowers people to turn around their own lives. Elephant Grass has a chance to do that. I hope you are successful finding all the support you need to make this film the success America needs it to be, and I’d encourage anyone to commit to this important project.

    John F. Kerry
    Secretary of State
    U.S. Senator
    Navy Vietnam Combat Veteran – 1968 - 1969
    Officer In Charge Swift Boats
    Silver Star and Bronze Star recipient
    Three Purple Hearts


    International Conference of War Veteran Ministers
    I have read this screenplay with great interest. This portrayal of Combat Veterans in an in-patient setting at a VA Medical Center is genuine and true to form. I found it to be very authentic, realistic and credible.

    Our VA Medical Centers are overwhelmed with this new population seeking mental health services. The general public, I believe, by and large still do not understand this disorder or its toxic effects upon family systems. This is why is has and continues to disrupt and even destroy so many marriages and adversely affect the mental status of children. The other major disruptive and destructive behavior of PTSD is it co-morbidity with alcohol and drug abuse utilized to numb the pain and forget the past.

    This screenplay serves as an educational tool so all who view it can begin to understand this problem. It is done in a humorous way in a hospital setting. It demonstrates the intense feelings the veterans have and the cure and support they give to each other – a methodology that was an automatic given on the battlefield.

    Being a Vietnam Combat Veteran who is now a Roman Catholic Priest-Chaplin in the VA Healthcare System in Boston, I have worked with PTSD veterans for thirty years now and this screenplay is right on target. I support and endorse its production to the big screen. It will be a response to a big void in the veteran’s library. There has been no other film heretofore that has told this story so accurately. I wish you all the very best wishes for a successful completion of this important work.

    Father Philip G. Salois, M.S.
    Head of Chaplin Services, Eastern Mass VAs
    PTSD Counselor
    Founder, Treasurer and Past-President,
    International Conference of War Veteran Ministers
    Vietnam Veterans of America Association, National Chaplin
    Army Vietnam Combat Veteran – 1969-1970
    199th Light Infantry Brigade
    Silver Star recipient

    The Military Family Network
    The Military Family Network is a news, resource information and referral network that raises awareness about existing programs and services and connects them to military service members, veterans and their families. In this role, MFN seeks to support the military community by bridging the gap between military and community life by providing tools that military families can use to build and customize their own personal network.

    MFN has received countless requests for information about PTSD. Typically, those seeking the most information are families and community members who simply do not have enough understanding of the disorder to effectively support the individuals they care about or come into contact with.

    The MFN sees Elephant Grass as a way to offer information, guidance and continual support long past the return of our service members from overseas. And, perhaps more importantly, by offering hope and humor as a way to transcend this difficult period, the film can show that a quality of life – albeit a changed life – can be restored. MFN wishes you great success and looks forward to your film’s debut.

    Megan Turk
    Executive Vice President
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Give an Hour
    As president of Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization providing free mental health services for military personnel and their loved ones, I write in support of your film project, Elephant Grass.

    The need for raising awareness about the invisible wounds of war is clear: the enormous number of service members who have been deployed and redeployed in Iraq and Afghanistan for extended periods of time has led to extended difficulties for returning veterans and their families. Military personnel and their love ones are contending with serious effects of service including post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression, while trying in many cases to resume civilian jobs, educational opportunities, and family life.

    Give an Hour supports organizations that seek to ameliorate these mental health consequences as well as other effects of military service and is supportive of efforts that work to reduce the stigma associated with mental health care, particularly among the military population. Films such as Elephant Grass help military personnel, their families, and the general public to understand that what they are experiencing is a normal human reaction to horrific circumstances such as war. This understanding is the first step on the road to healing.

    Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen
    Founder and President
    Bethesda, MD



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