By Jennifer Goad, The Herald
The H-Train Show with Goose helps veterans find resources beyond the VA
Army veteran Joel Hunt has traveled down a long and winding road over the last two decades.
After joining the Army in 1998 to when he was badly injured on his third tour of duty in Baqubah, Iraq, the path set before him was bumpy, with seemingly endless obstacles in his way. Persistence and family support led Hunt, who was wheelchair bound and deemed all but hopeless, to fight for his medical benefits and disability rights. With that, he regained his life and found a greater purpose to help others in similar situations.
While competing as a professional adaptive downhill skier, Hunt found that there were resources available to veterans beyond the Veteran Affairs (VA) office. As he learned more about what was available, he became passionate about sharing the resources to others in similar situations. Hunt retired from competitive skiing shortly after participating in the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia where his path took another turn.
He transitioned into broadcasting after he received a frantic telephone call from a relative who was seeking information on resources during one of the recent government shut downs. There were a lot of organizations that claimed to be available for veterans, but it was difficult to figure out which ones were the most credible. Hunt began researching various organizations and began compiling lists of those who best serve veterans.
His first show, The H-Train Show, debuted on Military Brotherhood Radio (MBR) on Oct. 1, 2015. Under the motto of MBR, “Radio with a Reason,” The H-Train Show sought to help connect veterans with resources beyond the VA. Hunt and his co-hosts would research non-profit organizations, interview people involved with veteran services, and speak with public figures, knowing the reach of these individuals and organizations went far beyond the spoken word. Many times, veterans have to wait extended periods of time waiting for assistance through the VA. When they are connected to other credible organizations, more can be done in a faster timeframe.
Hunt was serious about perfecting his craft, so he registered for classes to learn about the radio business and improve his product. In January of this year, Hunt added a new voice to the podcast. For the first time in show history, a civilian became his co-host to shed light on subjects affecting veterans from a non-military perspective.
“I knew Joel through school and his mission was so cool,” said Lucy “Goose” Patterson. “I never knew that this kind of thing wasn’t already out there. It was cool that Joel thought of it and thought of a creative way to make everyone aware and gravitate toward it.”
“I like to think I bring a lightness to a subject that is otherwise depressing or avoidable to others. As I don’t have a military background, I was brought in to help make interviews more interesting for the average listener, to help people like me understand what needs to be done at times.”
With the addition of Goose, the show has widened its appeal to the general public, allowing for civilians to better understand some of the roadblocks veterans face daily.
Much like a gear shift on a motorcycle, Hunt hopes to help other veterans shift gears while transitioning to civilian life following deployment and discharge. In recent months, Hunt, with the help of Luke Johnson and Gerald Raley, conceptualized and built a modified gear shift for motorcycles.
Due to the traumatic brain injury and paralysis of his left leg, operating a motorcycle proved to be a challenge for Hunt.
“I need a hand shifter to operate my bike,” he said. “Because of my paralysis, I couldn’t operate the gear shift on my bike. This changes that.”
Through his connections in radio and deejaying, he connected with Johnson and Raley who have collaborated with Hunt on the gear shift they’ve named “The H-Train Shifter.”
“I had to modify my bike to a trike due to my balance issues and I had an electric shift, but it was temperamental. I explained to Luke that there wasn’t anything available that filled this need,” said Hunt.
The trio got to work and created a prototype that fixed the issue for Hunt and could be used to help other disabled riders.
“It’s going to help a lot of veterans who don’t have the use of their left leg,” Hunt said. “There are a lot of veterans with disabilities. Creating that transition will help them drive forward the same way the show helps veterans day-by-day to move forward with life.”
The H-Train Show with Goose airs live on Mondays from 8 p.m. to 9:20 p.m. EST on MBRadio.us and IRNBroadcast.com. The show runs again on Fridays at 8 p.m. EST on MBRadio.us and on Sundays at 3 p.m. on IRNBroadcast.com.