Jared Starkel

A personal war, at home


Jared Starkel returned from Iraq four years ago, but the memories of his service there have yet to leave him.

Recurring dreams and overwhelming, painful emotions oftentimes make daily interactions a complicated, internal struggle for Jared.

Now, with a wife and four children to support, Jared is trying even harder to combat his PTSD so he can spend more time with the family he loves.

More than a Warrior


By Michelle San Miguel
News21 / Syracuse University

Jared Starkel was walking past the dairy case at Prince’s Center — the grocery store where he worked — when the “threat” appeared out of nowhere.

An Arab man was coming toward him.

Jared’s mind processed the data: Turban. Beard. Blue, flowing garment.

Can you hear me?

Jared gets his ears checked in Spokane for his VA benefits. Photo by: AJ Chavar

For more than half an hour, Jared Starkel waited nervously in the waiting room of a hospital clinic. Just a week ago, Starkel got his first sign of getting his benefits—a packet of paperwork in the mail from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Today, with no more than two days notice, Jared sat waiting to have his hearing examined for his benefits claim. 

The Ultrasound

Cassie shows her daughter Ashleigh how to read the ultrasound that Doctor Bradfo

I had the pleasure of attending Cassie's final scheduled doctor's appointment before she gives birth to her and Jared's second son. I have never really been this involved in the birth of another person before, not even in my own family, so to be allowed in the doctor's office multiple times and know that Cassie felt pretty OK with me snapping pictures wherever I wanted really made me feel trusted as a journalist.

Handing off the Camera

Photos by: Ashleigh and Katy

The Starkel family

Photo by: Katy Hurst

Just four years after his last deployment with the United States Marine Corps, Jared Starkel stands at the grave of a beloved family member. Buried in the Oroville Riverview Cemetery are family members who served in the military. As he stands in the pouring rain to honor his loved ones, his children gallop throughout the grounds, placing flowers on the graves.

Meeting Jared: A Young OIF Marine

Photo by: AJ Chavar

Nearly five miles from the western Canadian border lives Jared Starkel.

After three tours in Iraq, Jared traded in his not-so-distant memory of combat for a "calmer" life as a father and grocer.

Of course, "calmer" is a relative term for a dad with three kids (and one on the way) whose kids' ages range from two to nine-years-old.

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