Introducing SFVZ’s Newest Host: Erin Schraufnagel

Erin Schraufnagel is joining Mike Orban and Bob Bach as an interview host for the Stigma Free Vet Zone podcast. Erin logged 12 years with the Marines and two tours of duty to Iraq. Upon return she faced her demons and won. Erin will undoubtedly ask good questions and bring insight to the sometimes not pretty process of reintegration into civilian society after years in a war zone. Listen to Bob and Mike introduce and welcome SFVZ’s newest host, Erin Schraufnagel.

The Liability of Being a Veteran | Michael Kirchner

Being a veteran and being hired, means you are a liability, right? Wrong. Michael Kirchner is the director of Military Student Services at Purdue University Fort Wayne and an Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership where he teaches courses in leadership, training and human resource development geared towards veterans entering the workforce and the challenges they face.

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The Prose of Reconciliation | Jim Hackbarth

Jim Hackbarth grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was drafted into the Army shortly after graduating from high school. Hackbarth was trained first as a helicopter maintenance specialist and later as the door gunner on a UH-1 (Huey) helicopter.

Hackbarth arrived in Vietnam in October of 1968 and served a one-year tour of duty as a member of the 1st Cavalry Division. Although not wounded physically, Jim suffered other forms of anguish. For example, pain and isolation stemming from his combat experiences interfered with his ability to make and keep close friends and relationships.

However, decades after returning home from the war, Jim sought counseling and started writing poetry. He re-connected with former comrades and sought to share his message of hope and reconciliation with other veterans. His mission of outreach continues today.


The LiFE OF HOPE | Deeatra Kajfosz

A childhood with many emotional and psychological challenges, Deeatra Kajfosz entered the military to find a place to live. At first, the Idaho National Guard offered her this safe home, but a move to Wisconsin, a change in military occupation and an introduction to a culture she was unfamiliar with unraveled her military experience.

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When your family fights your war | Ken Lee

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.

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“Your son didn’t come home” | Heidi Carlson

Heidi Carlson’s father was a Marine, her family had a history of substance abuse and addiction. Her marriage to a Vietnam War veteran — scarred by abuse — ended in divorce. 

The loves of her life would be her two sons and her six grandchildren.

When her son David announced his decision to enlist in the US Army.

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Forward, march: life with gratitude and hope | Jerry Witt

Jerry Witt was born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin and graduated from Milwaukee Custer High School in 1964. After earning an Associate Degree at a local community college, Witt was drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to a scout dog training program. He served as a dog handler in Vietnam beginning in May of 1968.

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Bodies, Bones and Biologics – Mark Foreman | Pt. III

In the finale of this three-part series, Mark Foreman reflects thirty years later. Now allergic to morphine, osteomyelitis has returned to Foreman’s hip. He has had three major surgeries, all performed without pain killers. The resulting agony caused Mark to desperately search for any instrument within reach to end his pain by ending his existence. That is until once more the power of love saves his life.

To hear the harrowing beginnings of this story, head over to our podcasts page.


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, 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, 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.

Bodies, Bones and Biologics – Mark Foreman | Pt. II

In this episode, Mark Foreman’s greatest insight is recognizing his only success in life would come from taking responsibility for his actions and goals. No mental health professional, family member nor university — no one — but he would ever again build his vision of what his life is and his place in that life. This is profoundly courageous and significant thinking. When understood this is the most fulfilling path in life.

The pain of his wound — so severe — he wished only for another bullet to end his life.   

Years of painful surgeries awaited Foreman following his evacuation from a battlefield in Vietnam. There would be months in a body cast, morphine addictions and a lifetime disability. Physical pain would be bookended by devastating emotional and spiritual discomfort often fueled by alcohol and drug use.

Sometimes his constant pain was so severe he contemplated suicide. However, things changed when Foreman reconnected with the love he felt for his mother and family. Over decades he built a new life that brought value to himself and those around him. Years sculpting stone led to a career as an elementary art teacher and he co-founded the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative.

Today, his life lived in love is a more powerful painkiller than morphine. He continues his quest to make life better where he can and is a member of Veterans for Peace


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, 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, 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.