The 21st Show

‘American Legion’ Photography Book; How Therapy Dogs Help Veterans; Latest On Quincy Veterans Home


Mariah Karson

On The 21st: We hear about a photography book highlighting members of the American Legion. Plus, around 10-20% of veterans who return from Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD. How can therapy dogs help them? And, we bring you the latest news around outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease at the Quincy Veterans home. 

One hundred years ago yesterday, the War to End all Wars ended. Sunday was Armistice Day. All weekend, perhaps you’ve been seeing the commemorations taking place in Europe.

A year after that, the American Legion was founded. Its played a big role in our nation’s history, not just as the largest veterans organization in the country, but also because their members helped create things like the G.I. Bill and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Today, there are millions of members and, there are American Legion posts in towns big and small, where veterans gather and host community events.

Some of those veterans are the subject of a book called “American Legion” by Chicago photographer Mariah Karson. She’s joined us on the line from the Union League of Chicago where a veterans’ breakfast was being held.


The Department of Veterans' Affairs estimates that between 10-20% of all veterans returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan have PTSD.

Some organizations have been providing service dogs to help veterans cope with PTSD. There isn’t a lot of scientific research on this subject yet, but anecdotally, many veterans say these dogs have been a godsend.

Jeremy Stanton served in the Air Force as a staff sergeant and was deployed to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Jordan in the late 90s and early 2000s. He lives in Troy, just about a half hour across the border from St. Louis. And he joined us on the line from there. 

Luke Reinhold also lives in Troy. He served in the Army and founded an organization called Dogs That Help. We first met him back at the State Fair this summer.

Kerri Rodriguez also joined us. She’s part of the Human-Animal Interaction Research Lab at Purdue University, and has studied the effects of service dogs on veterans with PTSD.


Here in Illinois, there are four homes supported by tax dollars for specifically for veterans.

One is in Quincy. And it’s been plagued by illness and scandal dating back to a 2015 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. It resulted in the death of 12 residents, and for many, shed light on, at best, a lack of transparency from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Public Health and the governor’s administration. And at worst? Possibly criminal mishandling.

In the run up to the election you probably missed that WBEZ got more than 132,000 pages of new information about what the Rauner administration knew during these outbreaks. Joining us to talk about what comes next was WBEZ political reporter Dave McKinney. He’s been covering the story for more than a year. 

Story source: WILL