Art Sloane: A resource for veterans, day and night (audio)

Samara Freemark
Reporter
Public Insight Network

Art Sloane writes the Veterans Voice columnist in The Arizona Republic. (Photo by Michel Duarte for the PIN)

Art Sloane writes the Veterans Voice columnist in The Arizona Republic. (Photo by Michel Duarte for the PIN)

It took Art Sloane 70 years to find his calling — but once he did, he never looked back.

Seven years ago, looking for something to keep himself busy during retirement, Sloane started writing a column for The Arizona Republic newspaper. It was called Veterans Voice, and it was pretty simple: mostly listings of upcoming events, resources and fundraisers for veterans and their families.

From the beginning, Sloane decided to list his email address and home phone number at the bottom of each column. “I figured, if I was going to be writing about veterans, they should have some way to reach me,” he says.

Almost immediately after Sloane’s first column went to press, his phone started ringing. It hasn’t stopped since. Veterans and their families call him, seeking help with issues large and small. How long will they have to wait to receive disability benefits? Who’s a good contact at the Department of Veterans Affairs? Where can a widow donate her husband’s old World War II uniform? Has he heard about the national submarine museum? Where can a homeless female veteran go for help?

Today Sloane gets dozens of calls each week. He keeps a giant, alphabetized three-ring binder full of resources next to his phone. He calls it his ‘bible,’ and he’s constantly snapping it open to insert more loose-leaf pages scrawled with names and phone numbers.

Sloane is active in a local effort to help homeless veterans, called “Arizona Stand Down,” and he’s still writing his weekly column.

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Samara Freemark Reporter
Public Insight Network

Reporter/producer Samara Freemark joined the Public Insight Network after four years at Radio Diaries in New York City, where she spent her time helping ordinary people tell their extraordinary stories for NPR. In the process, she developed an unshakeable belief in the beauty and power of personal narrative.

Before Radio Diaries Samara worked as an environmental reporter, a posting that took her to sinking islands, Superfund sites, and literal snakepits – Burmese pythons, to be exact. She also churned out copy and tape in the newsroom of WUOM Ann Arbor. Before settling on a career in radio she tried out policy research, community organizing, and urban planning before deciding she preferred soundwaves to spreadsheets.