Veterans' Voices

Veterans’ Voices draws on the power of the humanities to call attention to the stories and contributions of Veterans. This initiative amplifies, honors, and recognizes the stories and contributions of Minnesota Veterans in their own voice through plays, art, discussion groups, and the Veterans’ Voices Award.

Help support Veterans' Voices by donating through the Minnesota Humanities Center's Veterans' Voices Give MN page.

2015 Veterans' Voices Awards

Amber Manke - 2014 On the Rise Awardee

The 2015 Veterans' Voices Award recognizes, amplifies, and honors Minnesotans who have honorably served, are thriving, and making extraordinary contributions to their communities. These actively engaged, former and current military service members go above and beyond to make exceptional, positive contributions that improve the lives of people across Minnesota.

Date: September 11, 2015
Time: 5-8 p.m.
Where: Anderson Student Center, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN
Cost: Free



2015 Veterans' Voices Awardees


Steve Campos, Air Force and Air National Guard, Cottage Grove
Thomas D. Cocchiarella, Air Force, Woodbury
Representative Bob Dettmer, Army Reserve, Forest Lake
Michael D. Dickinson, Navy, Meadowlands
Ralph Donais, Marine Corps, Elk River
Eddie Frizell, Army, Maple Grove
Khao Insixiengmay, Royal Lao Army/Special Guerrilla Unit, Brooklyn Park
Jim Tuorila, Army, St. Cloud
Joe Vene, Army, Bemidji

On the Rise

Megan Allen, Army National Guard, Ramsey
Carmelo Cruz, Marine Corps, Woodbury

On the Rise (continued)

Dajon Ferrell, Army National Guard, Mahtomedi
Scott Glew, Army National Guard, Elk River
Shelby Marie Hadley, Army National Guard, Rice
Joseph Kelly, Army National Guard, St. Paul
Colleen Kelly, Army Reserve, Minneapolis
Daniel Mitcham, Army, Minneapolis
Jason Ous, Army National Guard, Oak Park Heights
Ashley Riester Laganiere, Army National Guard, Farmington
Tyler Sanchez, Marine Corps, Eagan
Josh Savage, Army National Guard, Eagan
Jodi Schipp, Army National Guard, St. Paul
Elizabeth M. Skilbeck, Air Force, Elko
Nick Swaggert, Marine Corps, Chanhassen
Jack Zimmerman, Army, Cleveland

See why the 2015 Veterans' Voices Awardees were nominated. (PDF)

Always Lost: A Meditation on War

Featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning combat photographs and literary meditations on the nature of war, Always Lost: A  Meditation on War brings home the personal and collective costs of war and honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.

2014 Host Sites

October 13-October 24, Carleton College, Northfield
November 3-November 17, Southwest State University, Marshall
November 24-December 8, Normandale Community College, Bloomington
December 15-January 26, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Minneapolis

2015 Host Sites

Feburary 2-February 14, State Capitol, St. Paul
February 23-March 11,  In Their Own Words Veterans Museum, Perham
March 18-April 8, St. Mary's University, Winona
April 15-April 24, University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis
May 25-June 5, Thomson Reuters, Eagan
July 1-July 22, Northland Community College, Thief River Falls
July 31-August 21,  Metropolitan State University, St. Paul
September 4-September 25, South Central Community College, Faribault

Telling: Minnesota 2015

The Minnesota Humanities Center welcomes the return of The Telling Project, expanding upon work begun in the Studio in 2013. This new play performed by a cast of Minnesota veterans and military family members and written from their own experiences, Telling: Minnesota 2015 will create an opportunity for area military veterans and family to speak, and their fellow citizens to listen.

The Telling Project has put more than 80 military veterans and military family members on stage across the US to tell their stories of service. Visit for more information about The Telling Project.

Approximate run time: 75 minutes. This performance includes mature themes and adult language.

Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: St. Cloud Technical College, 1540 Northway Drive, St. Cloud, MN 56303

Performance will be held in "The Commons" in the Main Building.

2014 Veterans' Voices Month Law

Minnesota is the first state to designate an entire month to honoring Veterans. The Minnesota Humanities Center worked with Minnesota Veterans, Representative Jerry Newton (D-District 37A), Representative Bob Dettmer (R-District 39A), and Senator John A. Hoffman (D-District 36) to write a bill designating October as Veterans’ Voices Month (HF 2812). After passing both Houses by unanimous vote, Governor Mark Dayton signed Veterans’ Voices Month into law on May 16, 2014. This law will not only honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Minnesota Veterans, but will also educate all Minnesotans by sharing and studying Veterans’ experiences. Minnesota Veterans will be encouraged to share their stories through art, essays, and poetry in an effort to assist the public in understanding this unique military culture.

In honor of Veterans’ Voices Month, the Humanities Center and the Veterans’ Voices Advisory Committee have compiled a list of resources suitable for educators to use with their students.

View the Veterans’ Voices Resources

2014 Veterans' Voices Award

On September 11, 2014 the Minnesota Humanities Center honored Minnesota Veterans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty with the 2014 Veterans’ Voices Award. The Humanities Center invited anyone to nominate candidates who fall into two nomination categories: On the Rise (40 and under) or Legacy (41 and over).

Awards were presented at the second annual Veterans’ Voices Award Ceremony held at the Humanities Center on the east side of St. Paul on September 11, 2014. This award recognized Minnesotans who served honorably, are thriving, and are making extraordinary contributions to their communities. These former and current military service members made exceptional, positive contributions that improved the lives of people across Minnesota.

2014 Veterans' Voices Awardees


Muriel Alexander-Alvarez, Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard, Waubun
Donald Allen, Army, Columbia Heights
Ted Daley, Army, Eagan
Ron Fagen, Army, Granite Falls
Brockton Hunter, Army, Minneapolis
Jerry Kyser, Army, Roseville
Thomas Lyons, Air Force and Air National Guard, Plymouth
Jerry Newton, Army, Coon Rapids
Thomas Plunkett, Army, St. Paul
Dennis Schulstad, Air Force, Edina

On the Rise

Cortney Amundson, Air Force, New Prague
Trevor Berg, Army National Guard, Newfolden
Martin Caraway, U.S. Marine Corps, Renville
Louis Goldstein, Army Reserve, Hutchinson

On the Rise (continued)

Scott Hanson, Army National Guard and Air Force National Guard, Brooklyn Park
Brian Hare, Army, Woodbury
Christopher Hinton, Navy, Waseca
Aaron Heusinkveld, Army National Guard, St. Cloud
Richard Leonard, Army National Guard, Woodbury
Mike Lotzer, Army National Guard, Apple Valley
Dina Lubben, Army National Guard, Lakefield
Amber Manke, Army National Guard, Cottage Grove
Jason McNamara, Army, Mankato
Kristin Nord, Air National Guard, Buffalo
Brian Ophus, Army National Guard. Bemidji
Alex Schueller. U.S. Marine Corps, Eagan
Sean Staum, U.S. Marine Corps and Army National Guard, Inver Grove Heights
John Swenson, Navy, Windom
Evan Tsai, U.S. Marine Corps, Minneapolis
Dave Wentzel, Army National Guard, Mankato

See why the 2014 Veterans' Voices awardees were nominated. (PDF)