In the aftermath, we are because they were. R.J. Heller
Gale Filter, a volunteer at Loaves & Fishes is an air force veteran and a retired environmental prosecutor and educator. He believes that photography provides a powerful means to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and that in the eyes of many who experience homelessness, one finds the "homes of silent prayers" to quote Alfred Tennyson.
November 10, 2017. I am at Loaves & Fishes to photograph and honor those veterans who served our country. I can’t help but think of those veterans who served honorably and have had a significant impact on my life.
To Glen, my high school football teammate. He served in Vietnam, and died of a drug overdose several years after he was discharged.
To my good friend Dan who I served with in Italy (1968-1970). Prior to his assignment in Italy Dan had served a tour in Vietnam and was in a communications trailer that was hit by a rocket. Dan was the only one who survived. He married Caroline, had two daughters and committed suicide in the early 1980s.
To Tommy (Army) and Malcolm (Marine) who were my Criminology and Political Science students at Joliet State Prison in the late 1970s. Both men were serving life sentences: Malcolm for killing a police officer during the anti-war demonstrations at the Chicago Democratic convention in 1968; and, Tommy for murdering another pimp.
To Robert, a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran, who I prosecuted for killing his girlfriend. Robert is currently serving his time in a California prison.
To all of those homeless veterans who I regularly encounter as a Mercy Pedaler on Sacramento streets. You deserve better. There should be no homeless veterans.
To my good friends and photographer buddies Tom (Army) and Robert (Navy), who still stand tall and remain true coffee warriors.
To three generations of Filters (my dad, daughter and myself) who served in the Air Force. I did not learn that my father was awarded the Silver Star in WW II until after he died.
Thank you. I am because you were.
Gale Filter, USAF (1966-1970)