See dignity restored to a homeless army veteran in this powerful time-lapse video


posted Monday, November 11, 2013 at 5:11 PM EDT


For our readers in the United States, today is Veterans Day, an official holiday set aside to honor the many people who have put their lives on the line to protect our way of life. In many other commonwealth countries, there's a similar event known as either Remembrance Day or Armistice Day. Whichever is commemorated in your country, a time-lapse video shared today on the blog of Adobe principal product manager John Nack strikes us as very timely, and bears an important message.

It's a sad fact of life that, on returning from overseas, many veterans find themselves left by the wayside, traumatized by what they've experienced in conflict, and all too often shunned by the communities they fought for. And even if they're fortunate to return to a strong community and a loving family, it can still be difficult for them to return to the normal life and career path that many of us take for granted. By the time they're able to come to terms with their past, their future may have been torn to pieces.

In the video, produced by Rob Bliss Creative, we see the physical transformation of one such veteran, a transformation that hopefully foreshadows a similar turn around in his life. Left homeless and recovering from alcohol dependency, US army veteran Jim Wolf is just one of hundreds helped each day by Dégagé Ministries in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In time lapse, we see Wolf given a haircut, a shave, and a new suit, and in the process, we see a little of his dignity -- of who he once was, and can be once more -- returned to him. It's only the first baby step towards his reintegration with society, but it's an important step.

US Army veteran Jim Wolf gets a new start thanks to Dégagé Ministries and partners.

Seeing and believing in one's ability to change can be an inspiration, and according to the video, it was for Wolf. It's said that he is now attending Alcoholics Anonymous for the first time, and in line to receive housing of his own. There are still many challenges ahead, but with the ball now rolling, they hopefully won't seem quite so insurmountable.

Watch the video above to see Jim Wolf's dignity returned to him in time-lapse. Implicit in the three-minute clip is a deeper and very important message: For this veteran, and many others like him, a seemingly small change can make a huge difference. The donation of a small amount of time, money, and effort can help set their lives back on the right track, whether it's under the auspices of an organization like Dégagé, or simply by reaching out to local veterans and finding ways you can thank them for their service. It sounds cliché, but a little kindness can make a big difference.

Photography and the military have a long and storied history together. If you're interested in both, you may find some of our earlier coverage interesting. A year ago, we showed you a haunting image series mixing World War II photos with the present day. We've also told the story behind Robert Capa's D-Day photos, not to mention the rediscovery of his Spanish civil war photos. You can also take a look inside a World War II prisoner of war camp, thanks to 8mm film footage shot on a camera whose parts were smuggled in by the prisoners, and learn more about British photojournalist Don McCullin, who was himself injured while documenting the Syrian civil war at the age of 77. Last, but definitely not least, read our Q&A with seven-time military photographer of the year, Air Force master sergeant Jeremy T. Lock.

(via John Nack on Adobe)