Changing and Honoring the Narrative of Military Experience

Saturday, June 15, 1:45 pm - 3:00 pm

As the Forever War in Afghanistan continues, communities need to explore ways to help our returning Veterans reintegrate into their communities.  The Minnesota Humanities Center empowers Veterans from all conflicts and wars to speak in their own voices through plays, discussions, literature and Veterans’ Voices.  Writing Workshops are facilitated by military writers who are Veterans themselves, offering peer mentorship, instruction, and encouragement to those seeking to express the military experience through essays, poetry, and performance.

Learning Objectives:

1. See how storytelling helps in the Veterans’ healing process, reentry and reintegration into their communities.

2. Discuss how writing can help bridge the “civilian-military gap” between the military and the people they serve.

3. Explore how using the humanities can foster dialogue between military and civilian populations.


Blake Rondeau
Program Officer
Minnesota Humanities Center
St. Paul, Minnesota

Blake Rondeau has led the Minnesota Humanities Center’s statewide Veterans’ Voices programming since February 2018. In this capacity, Blake focuses on developing humanities programs and partnerships to address the civilian-veteran divide through dialogue and storytelling. Prior to joining the Humanities Center, he worked with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs helping veterans navigate federal claims processes and connect to community resources. A United States Marine Corps veteran, he deployed to the Middle East in 2011 and discharged honorably in 2012. He has degrees in English and Communications (BA/MS University of St. Thomas).

Jay Moad II
War Literature & the Arts
Northfield, Minnesota

Jay Moad is a  former Air Force C-130 pilot with over 3000 flight hours and more than 100 combat sorties. He served as an English Professor at the United States Air Force Academy and continues to serve as an editor for their international journal, War, Literature & the Arts (WLA). His short stories, poetry and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, and he is the recipient of the Consequence Magazine Fiction Award. In addition to writing, he has performed on stage at the Library of Congress and at The Guthrie Theater as part of The Telling Project - Giving Voice to the Veteran Experience. He wrote and performed in his play, "Outside Paducah - The Wars at Home" which debuted in the fall of 2017 in New York City at the Wild Project Theater for a three week run. He was nominated for the New York Innovative Theater Award (NYIT) for Outstanding Solo Performance. He currently resides in Northfield, MN.

Randy Brown
Editor and Publisher
Middle West Press LLC
Johnston, Iowa

Randy Brown embedded with his former Iowa Army National Guard unit as a civilian journalist in Afghanistan, May-June 2011. A 20-year veteran with a previous overseas deployment, he subsequently authored the poetry collection Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire (Middle West Press, 2015). His poetry and non-fiction have appeared widely in literary print and on-line publications, including Stone Canoe, Drunken Boat, F(r)iction, and So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. As ‘Charlie Sherpa,’ he blogs about military culture at, and about military-themed writing at

BriGette McCoy
Women Veteran Social Justice