Blind Hudson Valley Veteran Aims to Help Lives of Disabled Vets
A blind Hudson Valley veteran produced a feature film and song to help bring attention to disabled vets and improve their lives.
Marty Klein, 70, a blind veteran living in Woodstock recently finished his feature-length documentary, "Why Can't We Serve?"
The film includes interviews with veterans, some from the Hudson Valley, counselors and policymakers. Klein wrote, produced and directed the film, while hiring local a cinematographer, Mike Nelson, to carry out his vision.
Klein lost his vision to a rare eye disease while serving in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1960s, according to a press release.
"Before that, I had 20-20 vision," Klein said. "I had no idea that it would be the beginning of a total loss of vision."
Klein was inspired to produce the film after learning about the high amount of veteran's who commit suicide.
22 veterans commit suicide each day, amounting to over 8,000 deaths annually, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The film's goal is to improve the lives of wounded military personnel and disabled veterans.
"My premise was that when these soldiers go to combat and come back wounded, there is no place for them in the military, so I decided to expose this with this film," Klein said. "They get discharged and are given a disability check and that's that. Many want to keep serving, but now, they're floundering and don't know what to do."
The documentary's theme song is "Veterans' Anthem," an original song by Klein. The song was recorded at Natural Studios in Saugerties. It features Klein on lead vocals. He's backed by famous musicians like John Sebastian on harmonica; folk singer Amy Fradon on backup vocals; Eric Parker on percussion; Jim Barbaro on guitar; and Cathie Malach on the keyboard, according to a press release.
The song is purposely upbeat to instill hope among America's veterans, Klein said. The song can be heard below.
Klein began working on the film in 2016. The Kingston Veterans Association helped raise more than $8,000 for the project, according to Klein.
Klein hopes to get his documentary shown nation-wide, including at next year's GI Film Festival.
Here in the Hudson Valley, the film will be screened for free on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. at the Kingston VFW.
The documentary will also be shown on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Rosendale Theatre at 7:15 p.m. After the screening, Klein and other veterans who appear in the film will take questions from the audience. General admission is $10 and $8 for Rosendale Theatre members.
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