American Legion Post 4 of Billings will host a poker run Saturday May 19 to support “Return,” an ongoing documentary film project about a Vietnam War veteran who returns to the country for the first time since the war.
The American Legion is proud to support the production of this in-progress documentary, which upon its anticipated release date in early 2019, will educate the public about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, offer a glimpse of Vietnam as it is today, and show all veterans that their stories are valued.
Riders and drivers will register for this all-wheels-welcome poker run at American Legion Post 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, and then leave for a circuit that includes stops in Laurel, Joliet, Roberts, Columbus and Park City. Riders and drivers draw a card at each stop in hopes of getting the best poker hand.
The event culminates in a pig roast dinner back at the American Legion, with live music provided by Roy Buzzard and the Bones. Everyone, even those who miss out on the ride, are welcome to join in on the dinner. Cost to participate in the ride is $20, which includes breakfast and dinner. Dinner alone is $10.
“Return” (arthousebillings.com/return) is a project by Billings-based documentary filmmakers Peter Tolton and Stan Parker. The film focuses on Jim Markel Sr., a retired Green Beret who, among other jobs, fought alongside Montagnard tribes in the Central Highlands during the war. Like many other veterans, Jim Sr. has kept quiet about this part of his life and never really talked about it, until now.
The filmmakers have recently returned from Vietnam with Markel and his son, Jim Markel Jr., where the foursome re-visited the places Jim Sr. worked during the war and re-connected with former Montagnard soldiers to see what became of them.
Funds raised during the event will support the completion of this local storytelling effort.
The story to come carries with it the promise a captivating adventure, an introduction to a little-known culture, a testimony on living with PTSD, a reflection on the reasons for war, and a story of a father and son on a hopeful, if heavy, journey.
The intent is that the film will bear witness to the weighty work of re-opening the past. By sharing this journey, the documentary aims to foster empathy and understanding for military families, as well as encourage all families to discover their own stories.