In an effort to share authentic veteran experiences, CVN recently partnered with StoryCorps to record, preserve, and share compelling stories of transition, just in time for Veterans Day. The effort was part of CVN’s “Beyond the Thank You” campaign that challenged people to think of more meaningful ways to honor veterans.

Earlier this year, CVN went in search of the right city to launch the partnership. And, last summer, the Cohen Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) provided the perfect opportunity to invite local veterans in from the community to participate.

Through social media and direct outreach, CVN asked the community for interested participants. With an overwhelming response, 15 individuals were selected, and they were invited inside the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, where they received a sneak peek inside the new, state-of-the-art space where a pop-up recording studio was positioned in the conference room for the recordings. Over the course of just a few days in August, CVN and StoryCorps captured the powerful voices of these veterans.

The stories highlighted veterans from different military affiliations and varying experiences, encouraging openness about their personal lives and topics meaningful to them.

From left: Shari Houser, Clinic Director at the Cohen Clinic at VVSD; Josh Cohen, son of Steven A. Cohen, philanthropist and founder of Cohen Veterans Network; and Ashley Tatum, Case Manager at the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, during the StoryCorps recordings in San Diego.

With StoryCorps’ mission to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world, there were 15, 40-minute uninterrupted conversations recorded between veterans and their loved ones, including family members, friends, colleagues, as well as mentors and mentees. With the participants’ permission, StoryCorps then archived some of those recordings at the Library of Congress to be preserved for future generations.

Josh Cohen, son of Steven A. Cohen, philanthropist and founder of Cohen Veterans Network, visited the Cohen Clinic at VVSD during the process.

“It was extraordinary to see veterans of different backgrounds walk inside the Cohen Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego and use StoryCorps as a way to convey very important moments in their lives,” said Cohen.

“It is clear that the Cohen Clinic is an important part of the San Diego community, and I was so humbled and proud of the work all of the clinicians and staff put into making the clinic a welcoming and safe environment for the people that need it most. I was also able to meet some of the participants and it was amazing to see them build connections with their conversation partners by talking about topics they never spoke in detail about before. In return, their loved ones embodied the true value of listening. I could tell that it was a very rewarding experience for those involved.”

Click here to view and listen to the audio cards.


By Hope Phifer
Clinic Communications Manager