Kelly West
Multimedia Photojournalist

I'm the Texas transplant on this project, and I drove an incredibly indirect 5000 miles in order to get to Republic, Washington this summer. I'm a multimedia photojournalist, which means (at the moment) that I take still pictures, shoot videos, record audio, and try to think of creative ways to make you want to look at it online. I love my job because it means I get to ask a lot of questions, learn new things, meet amazing people, and sometimes even take cool pictures. I also love listening to music, drumming on the steering wheel, laughing at inappropriate volumes in movie theaters, making to do lists of things I've already done, and eating food with melted cheese on it. I hope you enjoy the work we're doing here.

Children Left Behind
Wives Left Behind
Mothers Left Behind
Soldiers Before Citizens
One of the Guys
This is Our Freedom

A Damp Victory

"The goats" get ready to show their skills in Curlew, Wa. Photo by: Kelly West

I'll admit, I was skeptical.

The News21 basketball team was thrown together last minute, with time for only one practice together before the three-on-three tournament in Curlew, Washington was scheduled. I never should have doubted.

Families go to ...

Photo by Kelly West

Today my partner Kelly West and I met Charlene Payton Holt, the wife of a Vietnam War veteran. She affirmed a lot of things Danna Hughes, of the Vietnam Veterans Wives, told us earlier in the week.

Women need just as much help as their husbands to cope with the fallout of war. Holt, a retired art educator, said counseling is key for the entire veteran's family to heal.
"We all need counseling in this life," she said. "It is sacred. It's your spirit's medicine."

PTSD & families

Photo by Kelly West

Danna Hughes' husband came home from the Vietnam War. But he fought a mental battle years later and wrestled with what he saw there.

He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and eventually she did too.

Untreated PTSD in veterans becomes an infection that plagues military families, Hughes told a group of News 21 fellows today when we visited her at her Vietnam Veterans' Wives office.

"She becomes like him. The children become like him. It's a vicious cycle. The only way it can be helped is with good counseling," she said.

Women vets' needs ...

Photo by Kelly West

Dale White transformed a table at the Lone Star Cafe in Tonasket into his mobile office.

Under a photo of Elvis Presley and pictures of 1950s Chevys, he sat at a restaurant table today with a laptop and a stack of notebooks.

A chair, with a pile of folders, served as a makeshift file cabinet.

While others ate breakfast and had coffee, White reviewed veterans' paper work and worked on their claims to get them health care and financial help.

Memorial Day on a ...

Photo by Kelly West

At the Nez Perce Cemetery Memorial Day is more than just a holiday, it's an event where elders are honored and traditions are preserved.

I attended a Native American Memorial Day service in Nespelem, Washington today with my colleagues Kelly West and David Miller.

The cemetery has soldiers buried there from nearly every war from the Nez Perce War of 1877 to the Vietnam War. Chief Joseph, the warrior who led the band into the 1877 battle, is buried at there.

The Nez Perce tribe is one of 12 on the reservation of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.