Veterans’ photo exhibit: ‘From War to Home: The Impact of Invisible Injuries’ opens in Multnomah Building Boardroom for Memorial Day

May 22, 2019

Military veterans who experienced a traumatic brain injury in Iraq and Afghanistan and documented their experiences through photos and words will be the focus of a national exhibit opening in the Multnomah County Boardroom beginning this week.

“From War to Home: The Impact of Invisible Injuries’’ explores the impact of traumatic brain and other injuries to veterans and those closest to them. 

On Thursday, May 23, the Board of County Commissioners will pay tribute to members of the Armed Forces who died serving their country during a Memorial Day proclamation at the regular Board meeting. The proclamation is the first item on the regular agenda and is expected to start about 9:40 a.m. You can watch the proclamation on the Board Clerk’s website.

The proclamation also opens the exhibit, which is being hosted by Multnomah County’s Aging, Disability and Veteran Services, the Veterans Task Force and the Veterans’ Health Administration’s Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC).  The proclamation is being sponsored by Commissioner Sharon Meieran.

The exhibit is part of a three-year research project into the experiences of veterans and their care partners in Portland and in Southeastern Louisiana.

According to the VA, which sponsored the research project, “the exhibit provides a window into the impact of military service on health and the stress of making the transition back to civilian life. The narratives also chronicle how Veterans and caregivers move forward and provide support and strength to each other. One of the goals of the exhibition is to educate and inform those who view it about the experiences and needs of Veterans and families living with invisible injuries.’’

The project is the second for Gala True PhD, a folklorist who specializes in health services research with vulnerable populations. In a December 2018 statement, True said: "This exhibition is intended to stimulate dialogue and build bridges between Veterans and their families and those who wish to welcome them home.

“Veterans and military caregivers of all service eras will recognize their own experiences and perspectives in these photo-narratives, while members of the public will gain a deeper understanding of the personal and collective costs of war,” True said.

Sarah Ono, a lead researcher at the Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care at the VA Portland Health Care System who also worked on the project, will present at the Board of County Commissioners meeting, along with Kimberly Douthit, Veterans Services program supervisor, and other veterans.

County Veterans Services staff will be announcing additional public events to highlight the exhibit in June. The exhibit will remain on display in the Boardroom until June 27.