Veterans' Voices

Veterans’ Voices draws on the power of the humanities to call attention to the stories and contributions of Veterans. This initiative amplifies, honors, and recognizes the stories and contributions of Minnesota Veterans in their own voice through plays, art, discussion groups, and the Veterans’ Voices Award.

Help support Veterans' Voices by donating through the Minnesota Humanities Center's Veterans' Voices Give MN page.

Veterans' Voices Program

This video by Whirlygig Productions highlights the importance and impact of the Minnesota Humanities Center’s Veterans’ Voices program, which began in 2013. The video features interviews with Veterans’ Voices Program Officer, Trista Matascastillo and 2014 Veterans’ Voices Awardees Brockton Hunter, Evan Tsai, and Richard Leonard.

Veterans' Voices Program from Whirlygig Productions on Vimeo.

Always Lost: A Meditation on War

Featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning combat photographs and literary meditations on the nature of war, Always Lost: A  Meditation on War brings home the personal and collective costs of war and honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.

2014 Host Sites

October 13-October 24, Carleton College, Northfield
November 3-November 17, Southwest State University, Marshall
November 24-December 8, Normandale Community College, Bloomington
December 15-January 26, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Minneapolis

2015 Host Sites

Feburary 2-February 14, State Capitol, St. Paul
February 23-March 11,  In Their Own Words Veterans Museum, Perham
March 18-April 8, St. Mary's University, Winona
April 15-April 24, University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis
May 25-June 5, Thomson Reuters, Eagan
July 1-July 22, Northland Community College, Thief River Falls
July 31-August 21,  Metropolitan State University, St. Paul
September 4-September 25, South Central Community College, Faribault
October 1-October 23, Ridgewater College, Willmar Campus
November 2-November 25, Ridgewater College, Hutchinson Campus

Veterans' Voices Month

Minnesota was the first state to designate an entire month to honoring Veterans. The Minnesota Humanities Center worked with Minnesota Veterans, Representative Jerry Newton (D-District 37A), Representative Bob Dettmer (R-District 39A), and Senator John A. Hoffman (D-District 36) to write a bill designating October asVeterans’ Voices Month (HF 2812). After passing both Houses by unanimous vote, Governor Mark Dayton signed Veterans’ Voices Month into law on May 16, 2014. This law will not only honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Minnesota Veterans, but will also educate all Minnesotans by sharing and studying Veterans’ experiences. Minnesota Veterans will be encouraged to share their stories through art, essays, and poetry in an effort to assist the public in understanding this unique military culture.

In honor of Veterans’ Voices Month, the Humanities Center is offering the following programs.

Veterans' Voices Literature Workshop for Educators

Date: October 9-11, 2015
Time:Friday 1-8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Location: Minnesota Humanities Center
Intended Audience: Secondary Educators
Cost: No cost, modest stipend available
Clock Hours: 17


Henry IV, Part One

Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Minnesota Humanities Center
Cost: This performance is offered at no cost, however, registration is required.
Intended Audience: Open to the Public (Best for ages 14 and up)


2015 Veterans' Voices Awards

Amber Manke - 2014 On the Rise Awardee

The 2015 Veterans' Voices Award recognizes, amplifies, and honors Minnesotans who have honorably served, are thriving, and making extraordinary contributions to their communities. These actively engaged, former and current military service members go above and beyond to make exceptional, positive contributions that improve the lives of people across Minnesota.

2015 Veterans' Voices Program


2015 Veterans' Voices Awardees


Steve Campos, Air Force and Air National Guard, Cottage Grove
Thomas D. Cocchiarella, Air Force, Woodbury
Representative Bob Dettmer, Army Reserve, Forest Lake
Michael D. Dickinson, Navy, Meadowlands
Ralph Donais, Marine Corps, Elk River
Eddie Frizell, Army, Maple Grove
Khao Insixiengmay, Royal Lao Army/Special Guerrilla Unit, Brooklyn Park
Jim Tuorila, Army, St. Cloud
Joe Vene, Army, Bemidji

On the Rise

Megan Allen, Army National Guard, Ramsey
Carmelo Cruz, Marine Corps, Woodbury

On the Rise (continued)

Dajon Ferrell, Army National Guard, Mahtomedi
Scott Glew, Army National Guard, Elk River
Shelby Marie Hadley, Army National Guard, Rice
Joseph Kelly, Army National Guard, St. Paul
Colleen Kelly, Army Reserve, Minneapolis
Daniel Mitcham, Army, Minneapolis
Jason Ous, Army National Guard, Oak Park Heights
Ashley Riester Laganiere, Army National Guard, Farmington
Tyler Sanchez, Marine Corps, Eagan
Josh Savage, Army National Guard, Eagan
Jodi Schipp, Army National Guard, St. Paul
Elizabeth M. Skilbeck, Air Force, Elko
Nick Swaggert, Marine Corps, Chanhassen
Jack Zimmerman, Army, Cleveland

See why the 2015 Veterans' Voices Awardees were nominated. (PDF)