Category: Podcast Episodes

10th Anniversary ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell! There’s more to tell!! | Dawn Strobel

Dawn Strobel grew up in Milwaukee and Cedarburg, WI. Her parents divorced when she was young. Dawns father is a Vietnam veteran who never spoke of his military experience and who Dawn did not have much interaction with while growing up. She would come to know him later in life. Dawn’s mother remarried and yet she and her mother did not have a close mother daughter relationship. With the normal expectations of honor and a place to fit in Dawn enlisted in the United States Army knowing she would have to hide that she was gay. No amount of written English can describe the profound devastation, dishonor and depression she would experience in both military and civilian careers for over thirteen years. “I was in such a suicidal state that I couldn’t live, but I couldn’t die because I had kids. I was stuck in between”.

Only in her own words can this be described and only in her voice can we hear this indomitable spirit that has taken Dawn back into her second career in the the military to so honorably and courageously work to complete what she endeavored to achieve over a decade ago. In addition Dawn has the love and support of her wife and children who she loves so much.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Dr. Lee, “the real casualty of war is family”

Kenneth Lee immigrated to the United States with his family as a young boy. The son of a South Korean Army career soldier and Vietnam War Veteran, Lee developed a sense of duty to his new country. Completing medical school and determined to serve and “give back” he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

There, as a commander of the Company Bravo of the 118th Area Support Medical Battalion, he suffered a traumatic brain injury during a suicide car bombing while on a combat tour to Iraq in 2003.

Years of physical and psychological challenges — and of the the haunting guilt of leaving his command post and company behind in Iraq — would strain Lee’s wife and children. They would be the real casualties of his war — suffering the effects of a husband and father emotionally detached from the family.

“You don’t smile anymore,” said Lee’s daughter — then he sought help.

After recognizing the need to take responsibility, he is determined to maintain the health of his family as the primary health care unit. His passion to help veterans is shown through his devotion to the adaptive sports community.

I found my purpose in life again…what an incredible journey!

 His 3rd OWI sent him to inpatient rehab and seven months in jail. On his release Chris joined The Captain John D. Mason Veteran Peer Support Program with the Medical College of Wisconsin. Becoming a Certified Peer Specialist Chris found his purpose in life again. He shares his story so that others don’t
make his poor choices.

“Alcohol becomes the enemy”

I was born in Milwaukee and grew up on the northwest side.  My childhood was like many others, hanging out with neighborhood friends and playing sports and getting into our mischief.  I graduated from Milwaukee Madison HS in 1993, went to Carthage College, but at the time I was only worried about playing football and not engaging in class like I should’ve been.  I worked for a couple years prior to enlisting in the Army as a medic, the best job I ever had. At my first duty station in 2000, I worked in the ER at FLW, MO, there was no better place for me to be.   I learned the skills that would help me in combat later on.  I spent 55 months between Iraq and Afghanistan, there were good days and bad.  After I finished my time in Active Duty, I went home for the birth of my daughter and transitioned to the Reserves.  During my time in the reserves, I became an instructor, but my transition to the civilian world was not so good.  I had many underlying issues that I hadn’t dealt with.  I am an alcoholic who got three OWI’s, which is way less than I should’ve. 

After my third OWI, I went to inpatient rehab at the VA and spent seven months in jail.  After my release, I began working for the Captain John D. Mason Veteran Peer Support Program with the Medical College of Wisconsin.  I have since become a Certified Peer Specialist and take my experiences and try to help those who need help. I also share my story so that they don’t follow my poor choices.  I have found my purpose again in life because of the programs and work that I do now.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Iraq, Afghanistan I was there! Combat Medic | Chris Swift

I was born in Milwaukee and grew up on the northwest side.  My childhood was like many others, hanging out with neighborhood friends and playing sports and getting into our mischief.  I graduated from Milwaukee Madison HS in 1993, went to Carthage College, but at the time I was only worried about playing football and not engaging in class like I should’ve been.  I worked for a couple years prior to enlisting in the Army as a medic, the best job I ever had. At my first duty station in 2000, I worked in the ER at FLW, MO, there was no better place for me to be.   I learned the skills that would help me in combat later on.  I spent 55 months between Iraq and Afghanistan, there were good days and bad.  After I finished my time in Active Duty, I went home for the birth of my daughter and transitioned to the Reserves.  During my time in the reserves, I became an instructor, but my transition to the civilian world was not so good.  I had many underlying issues that I hadn’t dealt with.  I am an alcoholic who got three OWI’s, which is way less than I should’ve.  

After my third OWI, I went to inpatient rehab at the VA and spent seven months in jail.  After my release, I began working for the Captain John D. Mason Veteran Peer Support Program with the Medical College of Wisconsin.  I have since become a Certified Peer Specialist and take my experiences and try to help those who need help. I also share my story so that they don’t follow my poor choices.  I have found my purpose again in life because of the programs and work that I do now.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Afghanistan and More: Extreme Challenges & Resiliency

Arianna Cirincione is from La Crosse, WI, born and raised until leaving home at the age of 18 to join the Air Force. Arianna served on Active Duty as a Security Forces member from 2005 until 2018, until she was medically retired. Arianna began her career at Spangdahlem, Germany, followed by RAF Lakenheath, Fort Leonard Wood, MO and finished her career back up at Spangdahlem. Arianna deployed to Afghanistan in 2006 where she performed duties as a detainee operations cell guard. Arianna was also deployed to Al Udeid AB Qatar where she was a DBIDS operator. While deployed she sustained injuries sending her garrison where she began working as a military police investigator. Following her medical retirement, Arianna returned back to the La Crosse area where she began graduate school in Mental Health Counseling with a focus in working with individuals with addictions and is scheduled to graduate in December. Arianna aspires to continue working with veterans and military following graduation and also runs the Tactical Recovery Group, a recovery program for veterans and their family members. Arianna has been married to her husband Dominic since 2006 and they have one son together named Harrison.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Fulfilling life…more than just a soldier!

I have had two parallel career tracks: one in public radio, the other as a government/military worker or civilian contractor. In radio I prepared and hosted music shifts and news shifts, interviewed arts, science, and political figures, written scripts and web posts, and engineered live broadcasts. For the US government, I spent 4 years as an Army linguist, three years in the Foreign Service, and 2 years as a civilian contractor for the US Army in the Balkans.

From 2006-2020 I hosted, wrote, and produced a daily public radio show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Lake Effect.

In 2020, I became the program director for North Country Public Radio.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

A Combat Infantry Officer and his wife who shares the experience

Upon graduation from college Allen was drafted into the US Army, and attended infantry basic and advanced training then on to OFFICER’S CANDIDATE SCHOLL at the Infantry School at Fort Banning,  GA.  His duty assignment includes Fort Jackson as a training officer and Fort Banning as a trainee in the Heavy Motor Platoon leader school.  Upon graduation Allen was assign to the Republic of Vietnam where He severed as a rifle platoon leader;commanding general’s briefing officer and an operations officer at the G5 Psyop.  I returned to the USAR and left after serving 8 addionall years leaving at the rank of Major.
While in training Allen married his high school sweetheart Linda who knows the military from the spouses experience. Together Allen and  Linda have two lovely children.
DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.


Don’t Ask Don’t Tell “Serving In Silence” | Dawn Strobel

Dawn Strobel grew up in Milwaukee and Cedarburg, WI. Her parents divorced when she was young. Dawns father is a Vietnam veteran who never spoke of his military experience and who Dawn did not have much interaction with while growing up. She would come to know him later in life. Dawn’s mother remarried and yet she and her mother did not have a close mother daughter relationship. With the normal expectations of honor and a place to fit in Dawn enlisted in the United States Army knowing she would have to hide that she was gay. No amount of written English can describe the profound devastation, dishonor and depression she would experience in both military and civilian careers for over thirteen years. “I was in such a suicidal state that I couldn’t live, but I couldn’t die because I had kids. I was stuck in between”.

Only in her own words can this be described and only in her voice can we hear this indomitable spirit that has taken Dawn back into her second career in the the military to so honorably and courageously work to complete what she endeavored to achieve over a decade ago. In addition Dawn has the love and support of her wife and children who she loves so much.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.

Indomitable spirit keeps looking and creates the new path.

Mark was born and raised in central Wisconsin to a large family. Mark is the eldest male child of
14 total siblings – 8 boys and 6 girls. Mark graduated from Necedah High School in 1998 and
joined the Marines in 1999 where he served 8 years of active duty and achieved the rank of
Sergeant. Mark deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 during operation phantom fury. Mark exited
the service in 2006 and subsequently attended school at UW Green Bay where he completed
his bachelor’s degree. Mark has worked in the veteran community since 2012 in both non-profit
and state government. Mark is presently the development director for Feast of Crispian and is
on his last semester of his master’s program at UWM.


DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban, Bob Bach and Erin Schraufnagel are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, Erin Schraufnagel or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.