mike stewart

Talking with Mike and Karen pt.2

Photo by: Kate Szrom

Today, I spent another afternoon with Mike Stewart and Karen Schimpf.

Before Mike and Karen got together in 2007, Mike lived in the woods near Chesaw in a 16 x 48 cabin he built himself. 

For Mike, life in the woods was solitary but peaceful.  He only had to account for himself.  He didn't have a lawn to mow or a television with the full allotment of  stations.  He's still getting used to living in what he calls an "electric house."

Veterans' Story Day

Percy Faison | Portrait by: AJ Chavar

Struggle for Benefits

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.

Talking with Mike and Karen

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.

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