Sherri Williams
Multimedia Journalist

Sherri Williams is a magazine, newspaper and online journalism graduate student. She has lived across the country and has a special affinity for the South, especially Mississippi. Sherri enjoys living life and writing about it.

Children Left Behind
Wives Left Behind
Mothers Left Behind
Soldiers Before Citizens
One of the Guys

When culture & ...

Vietnam veterans Keith "Soy" Redthunder and Jim Smith Photo by: Sherri Williams

For Jim Smith, a Native American Vietnam War veteran, fighting an adversary who resembled him was a struggle.

"They looked so much like our local people here that it was difficult for me to do my job," Smith, 63, said of the Vietnamese."These were people. They weren't just the gooks, the enemy...You could look at the kids and they could have been any of the kids here."

Smith and Keith "Soy" Redthunder, another Native American Vietnam War veteran, talked to us today about their war experiences at the veteran's office at the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation.

Small town graduation

Tonasket High School 2010 graduation Photo by: Sherri Williams

Yesterday I attended the Tonasket High School graduation with my News 21 fellows Michelle San Miguel and Kelly West. Both were gathering stills and video for a story about a high school student who is about to enter the military while the country is engaged in two wars.

In this area where there are many small towns people share a lot, including milestones in one another's lives.

So here graduation is a public event. It seemed as if the entire town came out to congratulate the students.

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.