Washington veteran population


A map of Washington state that includes county veteran population and percentages.

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.

Home Tour

Photo by:

Wednesday we tagged along for a tour of the Okanogan Department of Social and Health Services along with Okanogan County Community Action Council Executive Director Lael Duncan and some VIP visitors. Mike Gregoire and WDVA Director John E. Lee were making rounds and visited a home that local service officers hope could make a suitable site to house homeless veterans. The brand new home was built with the help of local high school students.

Mom's helper? Grandma

Daralyn with two of her grandchildren. Photo by: Sherri Williams

Daralyn Hollenbeck spent the weekend feeding, bathing and reading to her energetic grandchildren. Between kisses and hugs she played with them outside, took them for a walk and put them to bed. She took over and played mom to her grandchildren for a few hours to give her daughter-in-law Amber Hollenbeck, 27, a break.

All of the household and parenting responsibilities are on Amber now that her husband and Daralyn's son, Josh Hollenbeck, 29, is deployed in Iraq.

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."

An end to the waiting game

Cassie squeezes the hands of Jared (r) and friend Betty (l) Photo by: AJ Chavar

For nearly a month, AJ, Michelle and I have been anticipating the birth of OIF veteran Jared Starkel’s baby boy. Mid afternoon yesterday, our wait finally ended. It’s been nearly nine months that the Starkels have been waiting for baby Garryn. And when he finally got here, they couldn’t be happier.

Waiting for benefits

Jared Starkel looks through his 28 page VA paperwork. Photo by: AJ Chavar

It's been almost four months since Jared Starkel first applied for his medical benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Monday, Jared got his first sign of aid: a letter in the mail acknowledging his application.

Boombox to Bugle

From video recorded by Kate Szrom

When Cindy Byers plays the classic military bugle song Taps, she never misses a note, her tone is perfect and she effortlessly jumps from one octave to another. Her range feels limitless.

That‚'s because tucked inside Cindy‚'s bugle is a miniature speaker. Cindy can‚'t actually play. For the last seven years, Byers, of Tonasket, has performed the song at local Memorial Day ceremonies without playing a single note.

Women veterans overlooked

As an Army nurse during the Vietnam War Karen Schimpf tended to soldiers whose bodies were blasted on the battlefield.

She arrived in Saigon as "an immortal 22-year-old" she said. But that wasn't the way she left.

When Schimpf came home the war was unpopular and those who participated in it were not celebrated heroes.

Women's contributions went unnoticed, she said yesterday when my partner Kelly West and I talked to her at her home in Tonasket, Washington.

"We came home by ourselves," Schimpf said.

Being overlooked, she said, still stings a little.

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