Fight club reawakens and channels veterans’ warrior spirit: In a sweaty, loud San Diego gym, veterans train in mixed martial arts, fighting each other and the demons they brought home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Photo: Veterans join hands in a half-circle after their workout and shout, “Brotherhood!” Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
More women falling into ranks of homeless veterans: The number of homeless female vets has risen sharply during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though they didn’t have direct combat roles, they suffer many of the stresses that plague male vets — often while trying to raise children alone.
Photo: Ruth Donaldson with her son, Dante, at Jubilee House, a private shelter for homeless female veterans in Fayetteville, N.C. Credit: David Zucchino / Los Angeles Times
When it comes to dispensing healthcare, war veterans are a hard group to reach. But bartenders at VFW canteens, who develop family-like ties with patrons, are well-positioned to identify those in crisis and steer them toward professional help.
Photo: Dori Keys, a bartender at VFW Post 1503 in Virginia, is a sister, confessor, wisecracker and friend to the combat veterans who are her patrons, among them Bruce Yeager, left. Credit: Mary F. Calvert / For The Times
Homeless vets work on historic structures and their own lives At Heritage Square in Los Angeles, veterans who have struggled learn such skills as masonry, carpentry and even selecting Victorian color schemes.
Photo: Joseph Cruz, 23, right, a Marines veteran who served in Iraq, logs his work hours as Army veteran Charles Varnado, 51, moves materials from one area to another. The two are taking part in a program to restore historic buildings at Heritage Square Museum in Highland Park. Credit: Christina House / For The Times