Mike Izzo and Pat McGinty have been friends for more than twenty years. They met at the United States Military Academy and were teammates on the Army West Point Men’s Rugby Team. They attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course and Ranger School at the same time. Perhaps most significantly, they both deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Now the duo is launching a podcast to amplify the realities of military service, and they’re looking for stories to share.
Co-hosts of the What We Brought Home podcast Mike Izzo and Pat McGinty.
In service, the two spent a lot of time together, but they never spoke about the impact their service has had on them. Though proud of their service, they’ve each experienced complicated emotions surrounding their deployment and their decisions to eventually leave the Army.
“I thought I was unique in my conflicting feelings of pride but also guilt, and sometimes shame for certain experiences from the Iraq War,” McGinty said. “I just thought it was something you don’t talk about as a Veteran.”
That was the case until, through separate journeys, they discovered the healing power of storytelling. Izzo found the benefits of attending therapy sessions with a licensed therapist. McGinty found the power of sharing during group meetings in sobriety.
After 20 years of friendship, one afternoon they opened up to each other about their experiences. This planted the seed for What We Brought Home, a podcast they developed for Veterans of all ranks and services to anonymously share their most personal stories from time in uniform.
“The mission is to provide a cathartic experience through judgement-free storytelling in order to better cope with the complicated emotions of military service, whether in war or peacetime,” Izzo said. “We’d like to give every Veteran the opportunity to tell a story, to get something off their chest, and to possibly help civilian listeners better understand the true Veteran experience.”
How to Listen to “What We Brought Home”
What We Brought Home is currently airing its first season of storytellers, and episodes can be found on the podcast streaming service that you prefer, including:
How to Participate
The duo are always looking for storytellers. Interested Veterans of all eras, branches of service and ranks are invited to email their interest in participating to firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.whatwebroughthome.com.
What to Expect
Any Veteran can participate in a podcast recording from anywhere in the world with nothing more than a cellphone and a wifi connection. After expressing interest in participating, Izzo or McGinty will reach out and set up a “meet and greet” meeting via zoom or phone call. This preliminary meeting is used to get to know one another, answer any questions, and talk through the Veteran’s story. Following this, if both parties agree to move forward, a date and time is scheduled to record the podcast. The recording is done through a cellphone, just as if you are taking a phone call.
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of VA.
Pat McGinty is from Cleveland, Ohio, where he currently resides with his wife and three children. He is a Veteran of the United States Army, having served five years on active duty as an Infantry officer. He is currently a professor at Cleveland State University.
Mike Izzo is from Boston, Massachusetts, where he currently resides with his wife. He is a Veteran of the United States Army, having served five years on active duty as an Infantry officer. He is currently attending graduate school to become a licensed mental health practitioner.