Matt Nojiri
Multimedia Journalist

Matthew Nojiri is a recent graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper journalism and a minor in history. During his time at SU, he wrote stories for The Post-Standard, ABCNEWS.com, The Daily Orange, Equal Time and special editions of The Student Voice. He also worked as one of five Syracuse reporters for the ABC News On Campus program and was one of the first lead producers for TheNewshouse.com. Matthew is originally from Neshanic Station, N.J.

When He Came Home

Enjoying ...

Spectators lined Clark Street for Prospectors' Day Photo by: Kelly West

During our time in Republic, dozens of locals have told us to come see what the Prospectors' Days celebration is all about.

This weekend, we did just that. Some of us came out to run (and place) in the 3.7-k and 10-k races. Others were there to shoot video of the parade. Sherri and I grabbed lunch downtown at the Sportsmen Roost, which has become one of our favorite spots to eat downtown. Kelly and Kate stopped by after shooting some photos and videos.

Carrying the burden

Photograph of quilts made by wives and widows of Vietnam veterans

Yesterday we visited with Danna Hughes of Vietnam Veterans Wives, a veterans organization in Republic. Being the widow of a Vietnam veteran, she shared the everyday struggles of veterans' wives.

Struggle for ...

Veteran's Application for Compensation and/or Pension

As Sherri mentioned, we went to the Lone Star Cafe in Tonasket, where Mike Stewart and Dale White routinely help veterans with their benefits claims.

Getting benefits can be especially difficult for veterans struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, White said. The rules and regulations for benefits claims are complicated and numerous. Having an informed third party help with claims can make it a lot easier.

"Most of them take one look at (the paperwork), toss it in a bag and that's where it stays," White says.

Boombox to Bugle

From video recorded by Kate Szrom

When Cindy Byers plays the classic military bugle song Taps, she never misses a note, her tone is perfect and she effortlessly jumps from one octave to another. Her range feels limitless.

That‚'s because tucked inside Cindy‚'s bugle is a miniature speaker. Cindy can‚'t actually play. For the last seven years, Byers, of Tonasket, has performed the song at local Memorial Day ceremonies without playing a single note.

Talking with Mike ...

Photo by: Kate Szrom

We met with Karen Schimpf and Mike Stewart yesterday in the mountains of Tonasket. Karen and Mike both served in Vietnam and their homes are filled with books, movies and newspaper clippings related to America's military history. Mike was in the army and was involved in the only tank-to-tank battle in Vietnam. To pay for college, Karen became a nurse and worked in Saigon for a year.