// Stories

Connections Help Pay it Forward

One of the most powerful things about making connections is that they continue to bear fruit long after the seeds are sown and can crop up in unexpected places. A remarkable example of this is how longtime SW:S supporter, Danette (Kelly) Smith, reconnected with her...

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Our Partnerships Make Us Stronger

There is strength that comes with working collaboratively. It requires opening your mind and heart to different realities and possibilities. This requires comfort with uncertainty; in its essence, building partnerships is a creative process. This is at the core of...

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Amplifying Lives

"This profoundly changed my life and I can't put my finger on exactly what it was. I guess maybe just knowing that I could express myself in a way that's musical, or you know, just taking that layer of sludge off the top...and that just wears it down until you're able...

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Winner Again

Tyler Magerkurth, West Point Class of 2010 Graduate, Division 1 College Tennis Varsity Letter Winner, High School State Champion, social club leader, and my son, came back from his US Army deployment in Afghanistan in 2013, a changed man. Why? Why would one of the...

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Encore!

On August 1, 2019, many of our songwriters gathered on stage at Nashville's War Memorial Auditorium to sing "I Am a Soldier," a song written at one of the first SongwritingWith:Soldiers retreats. The song was one of 18 performed at a concert filmed for a PBS special...

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From The Very First SW:S Retreat, The Story Continues

Nikki Shaw landed at the first SW:S retreat on her Harley, just days after returning from a long deployment in Iraq. No idea what she was in for, just agreeing to go with a friend. She could have backed out when he canceled, but she believed in honoring her word. Jay...

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Gaining Strength from our Peers

At retreats, past participants join the team as peer support to welcome new SW:S participants to their first retreat and after, into our community. These peers let them know that they were once there as a first-time participant as well and they understand. Going back...

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Sparking Connections

"I don't think these pieces are lost on those who haven't served in the military... Writing and expressing these things has a whole lot more to do with getting through things, using good tools that are there. Expressing is so helpful."- John Wall, US Army SW:S staffer...

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Finding Strength In Shared Experiences

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer with a long history with SW:S, Rick Loomis had always dreamed of bringing together a group of fellow photojournalists who had served alongside veterans. Those men and women who embedded themselves with soldiers, sharing the...

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A Note from a SW:S Songwriter

This is a picture taken at a recent SW:S retreat. I had just written with a father who carried so much pain. My job was to collaborate with him and get that pain down on paper so he could get it out of his body and be able to look at it from a distance. Something...

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