Disabled Lives Matter


October 14, 2021

Disabled Lives Matter
Season 1, Episode 33
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: Levi Miller

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!


Nadine Vogel: Hello Hello everyone, this is nadine vogel your co host of disabled lives matter and, of course, as always, I am joined by my co host the amazing norma Stanley hey norma.

NORMA STANLEY: How are you guys doing.

Nadine Vogel: Good how are you doing today.

NORMA STANLEY: I'm great Thank you.

Nadine Vogel: Oh good. Well i'm just wondering if you would like to open our interview, today we have this amazing person joining us he's a teacher a speaker a strategist oh my gosh so many roles so i'm gonna let you take it away norma and then we'll go from there.

NORMA STANLEY: Well, Mister Levi Miller, who is going to be speaking with us today and sharing his expertise is he's an entrepreneur, and he actually is a former.

NORMA STANLEY: promoter in the radio industry and entertainment industry, and he has a construction company and he's going to tell us all about all he does, but he works, a lot with disabled veterans on employment, so thank you for being a part of disabled lives matter today, Mr Miller.

Levi Miller: Well, thank you for having me on their norma and nadine.  I'm glad to be on.

NORMA STANLEY: I am thankful that you had some time to participate, this year, this year, this and this show because we Bob is a busy the years gone by, so fast I can't believe it's October.

NORMA STANLEY: But you know I had a couple of conversations and I was really, really excited about learning how how you work, particularly with disabled veterans and your construction company, can you tell us a little bit about what that's all about.

Levi Miller: OK, firstly like you said i'm a disabled veteran a Vietnam veteran.

Levi Miller: Oh well, you know I ptsd so you have ptsd 100% disability and I always like to do something of my brothers and sisters well you know, a call them, from having been in the military.

Levi Miller: And always try to find a way to help them you know, especially the homeless vet.

Levi Miller: Because a lot of homeless vet is you know a lot of people say well you know they can do better, and this and that but.

Levi Miller: A lot of time, you know they can't find a job they had no medical insurance ad they go into bankruptcy with their family, so I, and I will try to find a way to try to help my brothers and sisters.

Levi Miller: So what I started doing first I started going to my American legion the vfw learn how to fill out claims, so I help other vendors to fill out their claims, you know with no charge at all, you know get them back on track.

Levi Miller: Uh. my company my radio station, which is WLMRDB radio, which I have a veteran show on there.

Levi Miller: And what we do, we will raise money on our veterans show, and we are like during the winter time, we will take blankets to the homeless veteran last year we acquired like 550 blankets.

Nadine Vogel:  Wos.

Levi Miller: And you know we gave it to the immediate family and we try to supply them with food, you know we'll use our 501 C 3 to go to you know places to like Krogers, where you know grocery stores and get them food.

Levi Miller: And after that we opened up construction company which called right real metal construction and what we do that construction company, we hire veterans and then we also teach them we give them free training course, you know how to get into the construction business and.

Levi Miller: And our next goal is to be build one house a year and give it to a veteran and give to a veteran and his family.  

NORMA STANLEY: That's awesome.

Levi Miller: So. that's what we're working real hard on.

NORMA STANLEY: That is such a sad thing, where you see people who have served our country and they don't get an opportunity to.

NORMA STANLEY: Come back and and live decent lives that they're you know became disabled mostly likely because of the war or whatever they were doing you were part of the Vietnam War.

Levi Miller: Yes

NORMA STANLEY: And they come back and they have no help and I just don't understand you said you're dealing with ptsd I know a few people who are dealing with that who are in the Vietnam.


NORMA STANLEY: How do you get people to understand that not it's not necessarily these people want to be in a situation of need it's just that the system failed them.

Levi Miller: Yes, navy was kind of the Vietnam veteran was kind of thrown away oh.

Levi Miller: You know, we throw it away.

Levi Miller: We have some awkward traits, you know, but we kind of throw it away can just imagine you and nadine, just, imagine you in the jungle fighting for 13 months, and then the next day you on the street, you know no rehab  or nothing there was no jobs for us, we was called baby killers we were call rapists.

Levi Miller: They say about everybody in Vietnam, you know, they was on drugs.

Levi Miller: Now Oh, excuse me if I break up you know sometime I break up when I talk about it.

Levi Miller: You know, it was a rough life if you apply for a job, like when I came out, I was like let him come back you know, I was the infantry oh I go file for a police job, they said no, you know you infantry you can't be trained no more.  you see what i'm saying they don't want to take a chance, with us.

Nadine Vogel: Well it's bias right it's bias at its core.

Nadine Vogel: Yes, Norma and I talk about it all the time.

Nadine Vogel: Right, you know implicit bias and and and that's a perfect example of it, and you know levi I would love to know your your thoughts because.

Nadine Vogel: You know today and in today's current wars, more and more men and women come back disabled than before, because many years ago, you know people would die in the field.

Nadine Vogel: Today you have a different medical technology that they're coming back and but coming back more with disabilities, whether it's post traumatic stress or amputee or something so.

Nadine Vogel: what's your perspective on how you think that's changed and how you think some of that bias, perhaps has changed if it's changed at all.

Levi Miller: Well, I think it changed a little bit nadine because these soldiers to get out now they have to go through maybe six six months or more, you know be deprogrammed whereas us Vietnam veterans we come back 13 months fighting and they throw you on the street and your brain your brain don't work like that.

Levi Miller: yeah so you know you don't have a lot you don't have a lot of problems and a lot of problems when I came out.

Levi Miller: Oh, I never did do drugs in the service but I guess about 80% of you know, we did they did do drugs in a service, but I have a lot of problem.

Levi Miller: When I came home I couldn't get along with anybody, I listen to my family or wife you know I could talk to them, but other people I couldn't I couldn't relate to I couldn't relate to at all.

Levi Miller: And I didn't start telling my experience, until maybe about three years ago, because I was told shut up don't say anything.

Levi Miller: And I know when I first got out I did a lot of classfied stuff I couldn't even talk to a psychologist when I came out.

Nadine Vogel:  Wow.

Levi Miller: You know, unless I got locked up, I think they lifted, that in 1986 

Nadine Vogel:  Wow. 

Levi Miller: I was in places that that the United States said we wasn't there, but we was there.

Levi Miller: Oh, you know it would just a mess I was sitting up at night in my bedroom with my first wife and stood up all night, all we thought was that the enemy was coming through I wouldn't get no sleep.

Levi Miller: Oh.

Levi Miller: My wife my well my wife now especially her, she helped she helped of other women's that their husband have been in the service with ptsd she she's a counselor so she teach them.

Levi Miller: But we put our wives through a lot of lot of I'm telling ya lot of trouble anger and a lot of trouble, you know, to try to understand us.

Nadine Vogel: Right right so so from what I hear then you're feeling like you know because of what the military is doing today.

Nadine Vogel: To help transition make that transition somewhat easier um that probably isn't as much bias, but i'm curious if we drill down further specifically to service disabled veterans today, 

Levi Miller: Yes

Nadine Vogel: What's your perspective on that.

Levi Miller: well.

Levi Miller: We we we disabled veterans, we need better job we need more training Oh, we need better health care because i'm gonna tell you something a lot of soldiers that went to Vietnam into regular army, we can go to the V-A the V-A won't tell us tell us what kind of benefits we got.

Norma Stanley:  I've heard that.

Levi Miller: Yeah i'm the reason I got my ID I had to go through Congress, I had to get me a lawyer, because I was turn down probably about four times.

Levi Miller: um I was infected with Agent Orange, which was a chemical.

Levi Miller: Oh it's do like 21 diseases, I got 11 out of them.

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my gosh.

Norma Stanley:  Wow.

Levi Miller: I know when I first went to the doctor, you know ahead of me paying my medical bill and some medication maybe pay $500 a month.

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my gosh.

Levi Miller: Then my lawyer in Congress said no you fought in the war, you know your stuff should be free.

Nadine Vogel:  Right.

Levi Miller: But you got to tell the V-A you go down there V-A not gonna tell you nothing and not going to tell you anything, you got to know that you got to tell them.

Nadine Vogel:  Right. Right.  Now, of course, if we.

Nadine Vogel: haven't veteran who's now working in private sector, then you know more than likely they would have their group health insurance, you know, through their employer and i'm assuming that would help dramatically.

Levi Miller: Yes, you can remember like agent orange the United States didn't claim agent orange until 2002 most most of Vietnam veterans was like 65 to 75 

Nadine Vogel:  Right.

Levi Miller: And we put our claim in what they do, they tried, but most of the fellas had died you know waiting on their claim 10, 15 years, 20 years.

Nadine Vogel:  Uh hm.

Levi Miller: years.

Levi Miller: You know so.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

Levi Miller: And what they try to do the soldiers, they they try to get them to to be able to submit a little quicker.

Levi Miller: But you know they they catch a lot they catch a lot of trouble too they not getting their medical like they supposed to.

Nadine Vogel: Right  right well Levi you know before we had this interview.

Nadine Vogel: Norma was sharing with me all of the amazing things that that you've done with your life as a result of these experiences.

Nadine Vogel: To to benefit others, and you know you start talking about other veterans and what you're doing there.

Nadine Vogel: But to me but to me what you are doing is a ministry right, it is a ministry for people.

NORMA STANLEY: It is absolutely a ministry it's important because so many of out vets are not getting the help.

Levi Miller:  That's right.

NORMA STANLEY: But what he's doing is a ministry absolutely.

Nadine Vogel: Right right exactly, and I think that that is critical critical to having the success that you're having. You know.

Nadine Vogel: I need to go on break, but when we come back I do want to talk about that because.

Levi Miller: Yes, I'll talk.

Nadine Vogel: Because I think that you know when we say ministry people immediately think religion right.

Nadine Vogel: But, but I think that what you're doing has the same impact.

Nadine Vogel: Right. To these veterans to these service disabled veterans and their families, and I just I want to talk about that because.

Nadine Vogel: For norma and myself, and we work quite a bit with veterans with service disabled veterans, especially within corporate America.

Nadine Vogel: And i'd love to talk a little bit more about that as well about you know the impact of that so let's go to commercial break and everybody stay tuned don't go anywhere, we will come back this is nadine vogel with norma Stanley and our guest today, Levi Miller.

Voiceover:  And now it's time for a commercial break.

Have you attended a springboard Consulting event? Well, you should, we have the best events and our 2022 events are just under way. Firstly is the Brg Summit happening on Tuesday, April 26th, and then following that is Disability Matters. North America Conference and Awards that's happening Wednesday and Thursday, April, 27 and 28. Both events are being delivered by a live stream. If interested in attending, please visit www.consultspringboard.com for more information.

Voiceover:  And now back to our show.


Nadine Vogel: Well Hello everyone welcome back to today's episode of disabled lives matter and don't forget it's more than a podcast, it is a movement.

Nadine Vogel: And part of today's movement is talking with our guest Levi Miller and i'm going to turn it back over to norma to continue this amazing conversation.

NORMA STANLEY: Well, thanks, and I just wanted to bring up the fact that levi's you know I guess determination to overcome.

NORMA STANLEY: Led to him doing a lot of amazing things, including starting this company that helped to employ people with disabilities to also a part of the entertainment industry at some point.

NORMA STANLEY: and doing some things in that area before you got into radio so tell us a little bit about that really quickly and we can get back to seeing how you how it led to what you're doing now.

Levi Miller: Okay. The first thing I'd like I say though I love you all, and I know all my veteran brothers and sisters love you all for what you all doing.

Levi Miller: Oh there's not many people that give us, you know talk to us give us help back, we need that most of all so your program I love it, you know I love what you all doing.

Levi Miller: And then start talking about what I was doing I had really bad ptsd like to 2013 of about five operation and it put me in a very depressing mood very depressed.

Levi Miller: ah you know, looking at the ceiling all day not wanting to talk anybody about it, nor do anything and then my wife and a good friend of mine.

Levi Miller: They would tell me say.

Levi Miller: That my wife told me so you need to go on radio, you need to start talking about about the veterans.

Levi Miller: She demand me, you know how you ladies, are you you all demand it, and we have to do it.

Norma Stanley:  We're persuasive.

Levi Miller: And, as I got started, I told I don't want do no radio leave alone talking about radio, then she said, you could open a veterans show you could talk about some of the problems you having and you know I got into that and now I love it I won't leave it.

Levi Miller: Uh cause now I get you know, to express to us soldiers you know our brothers and sisters what to do, how to go about doin' it and everything.

Levi Miller: So we built a platform, we got who WLMRDB show we reach veterans.

Levi Miller: All over the United States and overseas.

Levi Miller: Uh, you know, with past soldiers you know from the days back when I was in and future soldiers, that is what we're doing now, and so we do all of that, and it is very satisfying to me to knowing that I can you know you know when they disabled, knowing that I can be some help.

Levi Miller: Because you don't see help, like this, you know, or we don't get many programs, you know, like you and norma got nadine, so you know this, you know this this this really help us.

NORMA STANLEY: Well you know my step son was in the military and he served in Kuwait and then he came back, he would tell me that you know he always slept with one eye open.

NORMA STANLEY: And you know, because there were always bombs going off, you know they always had to be ready to go he's a 42 years old, now, and I know he's dealing with ptsd.

Levi Miller: He do.

NORMA STANLEY: From that experience he wasn't in an actual war but whatever he had to do, when he was in Iran  Kuwait area it affected him and it's still affecting him.

NORMA STANLEY: and his life, right now, and so you're like you're saying it's important for them to get the information that they need, so that they can.

NORMA STANLEY: reclaim their lives because whatever they dealt with and wherever they saw it, it really mess with them mentally which is you know causes them mental illness in some capacity that's not diagnosed in many cases.

Levi Miller: Right and I guarantee you he have ptsd I can guarantee that.

Levi Miller: Even, if they go through training of basic training he I-T, you know you start picking up stuff then because you know they drill you to be brainwashed and then you see some stuff or you know some stuff happening that you know that's really not real you know, but you have to go through all of it.

Levi Miller: Yes, you know you go to war just being in the service, you will get that ptsd.

Norma Stanley:  Yeah they see stuff we don't hear about on the news.

Levi Miller: Shell shock. They used to say shell shock.

Levi Miller: Before they came to ptsd.

NORMA STANLEY: yeah yeah they can't talk about everything that's actually being seen experienced um with by by some of these soldiers male and female so it's a real issue.

NORMA STANLEY: it's a real issue, and so you know.

NORMA STANLEY: kudos to what you're trying to do at least to.

NORMA STANLEY: not become homeless or if they are homeless aleast find a way to make some money that they can you know take care of themselves and their families.

NORMA STANLEY: So kudos to you and your company construction company that's been doing that. You say it's a non profit your. Construction company.

Levi Miller: We have a nonprofit that what we do with that nonprofit we take entertainment shows to military bases.

Levi Miller: Or we may take them uh my wife, has a more people ptsd counselor or we may put on an entertainment show there.

Nadine Vogel:  Oh wow.

Levi Miller: We may take stage plays to bases.

Levi Miller: We haven't had a trip to go overseas yet so we working on that process.

Levi Miller: But uh we do all of that, because I have another company too like a Boomer TV on roku devices.

Levi Miller: Oh, I have shows there entertainment shows there I have veterans

Levi Miller: Stories on there also too.

Nadine Vogel: i'm curious of the individuals that you employ and work with what percentage would you say have service related disabilities and then of that you know how is that different for you way what, what do you find as an employer, if anything, you need to do differently.

Levi Miller: I need to help more than what i've done.  You know I don't ever feel like i'm doing I don't feel like i'm doing enough.

Nadine Vogel:  Right.

Levi Miller: hey hey you know that the feeling I have because God bless me, you know the old comradery this, you know.

Levi Miller: stuff and stuff like that and i'm Like you, I like to give back and when we get back 

Nadine Vogel: Right.

Levi Miller:  You know I don't I don't want to be the spotlight the limelight I just want to give back.

Nadine Vogel: Right right and I completely get that from everything that you have shared with us, but i'm just curious as an employer, what do you find that you may need to do differently.

Nadine Vogel: Or that or how the experience the work experience is different.

Nadine Vogel: If the if the veteran has a disability or not, um then obviously different yet if it's visible or invisible.

Levi Miller: Yes, well, with you know veteran disability, you know I do a lot of talking with them, I try to be more than an employer I try to be their best friend.

Levi Miller: We call it war buddies.

Levi Miller: yeah yeah and um you know if you call me today, you need help and I got it i'm gonna help you that that's you know that's they way we do it.

Levi Miller: And I find that I build a better relationship and they know where i'm coming from because you know.

Levi Miller: They don't you know they got it and they know exactly where i'm coming from and we can kind of relate a little bit more closer you know when you've been there you've talked to somebody there you can become closer, because a lot of soldiers, they won't talk to you.

Levi Miller: Ah.

Levi Miller: Unless you know you've been in the military.

Levi Miller: I see the reason for that like when I came out, we talked to other people then they'll laugh you know.

Levi Miller: don't believe you know don't believe what we tell them then we give upset, so we wanna hurt people.

Levi Miller: So yeah oh it was drastic yeah.

NORMA STANLEY: Well like I said, the little bit i've seen just observing my stepson I know there's some situations that he needs to talk about and he won't.

NORMA STANLEY: And he won't so that's just reality.

Levi Miller: I heard of it, we need that we really need to talk about it that's why I say yo show you know the few other show that's what you all do cause us veterans, we need to talk about cause the longer we keep it in us it's just gonna get worse.

Levi Miller: And I learned that.

Nadine Vogel: And do you do you feel I mean Covid lets us, you know we're all dealing with covid now do you feel like covid is having.

Nadine Vogel: A greater impact um in any way for veterans than than the rest of us, I mean obviously everybody's talking about how they're experiencing anxiety and depression, you know so many things with the ambiguity.

Levi Miller: Right.

Nadine Vogel: Of what's happening, but i'm just wondering from your perspective and the vets you work with if you think that is a different hit on them, for some reason.

Levi Miller: Yes, I think, so too, because a lot of veterans can't get no healthcare they get sick, they can't go to the hospital aw.

Levi Miller: You know it's a lot going on, but as for me covid didn't really mess with me to much because I stay in the House anyway.

Levi Miller: So.

Levi Miller: I stay in the house, you know doing what I got to do.

Levi Miller: A know some that it did hurt a lot of people couldn't find no job and they was scared to find jobs all the veterans not getting, you know they fight like hell, excuse the cursing, to get that money you know, to support them and their family.

Levi Miller: And I know it did hurt a lot of love people to also to about not getting out and work that people are scared to go out.

Levi Miller: You know, they get sick because they don't have they don't have the money, you know they don't have the money.

Norma Stanley:  Yeah.

Levi Miller: You know, and when you got a family.

Levi Miller: You know, that's another thing, you know you can't support your family's especially the disabled veteran that do a lot to us to.

Levi Miller: You know that, do a lot to us too that we can support our family.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

Levi Miller: You know I got lucky, I sent.

Levi Miller: Uh two my daughters to college and paid for.  You know by the settlement that I got one of them is a doctor now one is a dental hygienists.

Nadine Vogel: Wow.


Levi Miller: And you know and they doing very good.

Nadine Vogel: Good.

Levi Miller: But a lot us you know, the veterans when they do get the money from the V-A or get their claim a lot of you know, spend it all on drugs well you know.

NORMA STANLEY: that's that's where their minds are.

Levi Miller: Right, because you try to do anything with to get your

Levi Miller: Mind off that depression, and you know, and everything else.  So you do you do anything that you know they take drugs because you're trying to get rid of the pain that they have.

Nadine Vogel: Right right and that's you know we we have at springboard we have a whole practice around mental health and and one of the things you know we tell folks is that you know you don't see mental health issues right.

Nadine Vogel: it's emotions feelings we don't see feelings and thoughts.

Levi Miller: No.

Nadine Vogel: It's important. Right. It's just a important to address as the physical disabilities, but unfortunately society still has a stigma.

Nadine Vogel: I think with that, and so, then that adds to that stigma that really you're talking about you know coming back from war, and I not getting support it's just you know it's something that I think has improved a lot over the years, but hasn't gone away at all.

Levi Miller: Right right.

Levi Miller: And let me tell you something funny here, maybe two years ago.

Levi Miller: I applied for a scooter.

Levi Miller: You know they wouldn't give me a scooter.

Levi Miller: I couldn't believe what the lady say at the V-A I thought they're gonna lock me up.

Levi Miller: And then later finally told me she go give me my scooter.

Levi Miller: And you know, like, I told her you healthy, you can walk around with your husband you can go anywhere way you want to go.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

Levi Miller: You know I I can't barely go anywhere you go to walmart and you have to wait on a scooter.

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my.

Levi Miller: And I just went off, I went off.

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my gosh.

Norma Stanley.  Wow.

Nadine Vogel: You know, you know we have to be kind to one another, I don't care what the situation is, you know I think first and foremost, people have to just learn how to be kind.

Levi Miller: Right.

Nadine Vogel: Right. Cause it's comments like that are not kind any way, shape or form and imagine if Levi, you know you when she said that to you, you are actively experiencing mental health issues.

Nadine Vogel: That could have easly escalated right.

Levi Miller: Yes.

Nadine Vogel.  And some people don't understand for some reason.

Levi Miller: And it happens us at the V-A there is a lot of us, you know that escalate and you could wind up in the hospital right, you know it can it can get rough at times.

Nadine Vogel:  I bet it can.

Levi Miller: There's a lot of personnel there.

Levi Miller: That never been in the service.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

Levi Miller: Well and most of them don't even know about Agent Orange for the older veteran.

Nadine Vogel: Right right.

Levi Miller: I was lucky.  You counsel them, you don't know, even know.

Levi Miller: You need to know what this, solider went through.

Nadine Vogel: Right right. Absolutely. 

Levi Miller: You know to talk to them any kinda way, it don't work. No.

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my goodness, I you know I hate to say this, but we are out of time I cannot believe this half hour has flown.

Nadine Vogel: I looked at the clock and was like where did that time go. oh my gosh Levi think you so much for sharing your story.

Levi Miller:  Okay.

Nadine Vogel: Your personal passion and mission and ministry to work with help support and encourage veterans and especially veterans with service disabilities, we are so appreciative of what you do.

Levi Miller:  Okay.

Nadine Vogel: And appreciate you sharing your story.

Nadine Vogel: norma Thank you.

Nadine Vogel: Thank you for bringing Levi to us.

Levi Miller:  Okay. May I say this before I leave.

Nadine Vogel: Yeah please.

Levi Miller: You all were so easy to talk to.

Levi Miller: If I had people like you talk to me like you talking to a back in.

Levi Miller: Back in the day I would have been a lot better.

Levi Miller: And you know.

Levi Miller: I say that from my heart. I got tears in my eyes now. I say thing from my heart.

Nadine Vogel: Thank you Levi it was an absolute.

Nadine Vogel: Pleasure, and I know that our listeners are going to feel exactly the same way so with that norma my God it's another episode of disabled lives matter remember it's more than a podcast it.

Nadine Vogel: it's a movement, and we need you all to join the movement so until next time bye everybody.

NORMA STANLEY: Have a blessed one, bye bye.

Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

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