"We felt in our
research the American public did not realize that veterans were short-changed in many ways," says Laurence Babb a co-producer
of the video. "We thought that we could bring the message to the public that
veterans aren’t being taken care of as everyone thinks they are.”
Babb and his partner,
John Sottile, run After The Bugles Corporation in Sharon, MA. They began working
on the documentary in 2005. With the cooperation of the Massachusetts Department
of the DAV, they have produced a six-minute trailer ( a short video) that includes appearances by Department Adjutant, Dan
Stack, and former National Commander, Alan Bowers.
Babb and Sottile
are aiming for a finished product in 2008 that could that be shown in theaters, on television, and used as segments for public
service announcements. Their hope is to raise funds to pay for services for disabled veterans.
and Sottile say that they'd like to run a telethon fundraiser for disabled vets... and are seeking approval from the National
"We wanted to differentiate
our activities from other fundraising groups and we wanted to specialize on the people who need it most,” say Babb. “In our estimation, that was disabled veterans.
Then, we looked at the groups doing things and felt that the one that was geared the most to our thinking was the DAV.”
Babb has a long
career in movie making dating back to the 1960s. Since then he has also beeen
involved in television and video from financing to producing to marketing projects.
Sottile has worked in media productions and marketing over the same period, assisting large companies and start-up
Though Babb and
Sottile knew that they wanted to raise funds for disabled veterans, they were unaware of the low-level of concern the public
had for veterans until they started interviewing people. In 12 focus groups of
10-20 people in California, Ohio, North, Carolina, Massachusetts and other states, Babb says that veterans were well down
the list of groups receiving donations.
We found that people
are contributing first to the various medical groups, such as cancer, says Babb. “
The second was children and the third was women, breast cancer research, for example.
Then it spread out to a variety of other things and veterans were close to the bottom.
In many instances,
people who were very generous with their contributions did not give to veterans at all.”
he adds. “They just never felt ot was the place to go becasue the misconception is that people are taken care of by the government and that they
don’t need any money. That was consistent right across the country.
The other striking
impression Bab received from the focused groups was the generally negative view people had of veterans and veterans’
organizations. He said many of the focus group participants thought of homeless,
social clubs, and drinking when they considered veterans.
have not done a good job of presenting themselves to the public,” says Babb. When
you mention veterans’ organizations, they though of social clubs. When
we mentioned DAV, I’d say that 90 % of the people didn’t even know what the letters stod for.”
Babb and Sottile hope
that the documentary will change the views towards veterans, particularly those who are disabled, by making the public aware
of their plights.
"When they come
home there's a parade, but then the bugles stop, and they’re disabled to some degree and they have the next 40 or 50
years of their life to live,” says Babb. “It can be lonely and very
debilitating and in many instance they’re living almost at the poverty level.
We’ve got to change that. If you’re will to give up your life
or your limbs, you have got to be treated respectfully and given a standard of living that says “we’re grateful
for what you have done and you’re a hero to us, not just a burden.”