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 message for ...

Photo by Juliette Lynch

Three months have passed since we posted our stories and folded up the tents. We've gotten a lot of great feedback and some good exposure, and we thank everyone who took the time to click on our work.

We've all moved on to other things now – internships, jobs, finishing up degrees and starting toward new ones. As our time in the woods of Washington fades into memory, though, it's hard to forget the personal stories we heard from the men and women who have served our country.

All good things ...

All of us with our K Diamond K friends!

Well, last week we packed up and moved out of the K Diamond K bunkhouse, where we had been living for nearly seven weeks. 

Now we're back in Syracuse, working in a windowless, fluorescent-lit room in Newhouse. Don't get me wrong, the computer labs at the university are fantastic, but nothing compares to working in a window-filled room surrounded by beautiful mountainous landscapes.

Capturing the land

Ken Harper shoots a forest road at dusk. Photo by David Miller

Today is our last full day in the woods of Washington state.  In thinking about how much I'll miss this beautiful place, I'm happy that we've spent so much of the last week really appreciating our surroundings. In creating our piece about the land, no seemingly impossible scenario or shot idea has stopped us from getting some beautiful footage.

Duct tape and a ...

Duct taped flip video camera. Photo by: Kelly West

In the meadow

News21 fellow David Miller shoots test video in a meadow. Photo by Kelly West

With just around a week left in Washington state, nothing is slowing down. Along with the veteran articles, photo stories, and infographics that all the teams are working on, a few of us are also collaborating on a piece about the land- what it means to the people, and how it shapes their lives. The land helps answer the question why are these veterans here? which in turn helps answer the question why are we here?