In August 2013 I wrote about Anthony Anderson of West Bend and his friend Tom Voss who were headed on a journey of a lifetime walking from Wisconsin to Los Angeles, California to raise money and awareness for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Dryhootch of America, Inc.
A portion of the article read: Soft spoken and with a full beard, Anderson looks less like a guy who spent two deployments in Iraq as part of the Wisconsin Army National Guard and more like a guy from the north woods who wrestles bears. Standing 6-foot-3 and over 300 pounds, he casts an intimidating shadow.
“A lot of vets worry about judgment, so to go out there and say I have these issues; people don’t like to talk about mental health or the fact 22 vets a day commit suicide,” he said.
As Director of Operations at Dryhootch on Brady Street in Milwaukee, Anderson has participated in a lot of peer-to-peer counseling and mentoring of veterans.
“Some vets tell you to suck it up; other vets need to talk and it’s one of the reasons I’m doing the walk because people start asking questions and then I’m able to relay some of the things affecting the veteran community,” he said.
During the tour Anderson and Voss were followed by a film crew and now their story and that documentary ‘Almost Sunrise’ by Michael Collins has become an official 2016 selection of the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival.
A write up on the ‘Almost Sunrise’ documentary is below.
2016 USA / Duration: 95 mins
A remarkable number of veterans return from America’s interventions shattered, committing suicide at a rate of almost one per hour. Almost Sunrise looks at this epidemic through the lens of two men who fought together in Iraq. After returning to the U.S., Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson struggled for years before deciding to walk across the country to help heal themselves. What they find is that these steps are only the beginning of the longest journey of their lives.
This documentary tells a tale of physical and mental challenges — and much more. It introduces the term “moral injury” (the psychological damage service members face when experiences on the battlefield challenge their moral beliefs) and asks what we take forever from the young men and women who sacrifice so much for their country. This film shows what it requires to reclaim and reorient your life when you’ve been to hell and back. It’s not an easy path, but it’s one worth taking.