Kruse Corner

Personal stories about life after the military, transitioning from soldier to civilian, losing friends to suicide, the VA experience, and learning to reach out to ask for help.

Lani Hankins
  • 0322 Leave the Light On

    When are we allowed to finally say that we have healed? Or, are we meant to stay broken? For over 3 years I have talked about struggling, trauma, and failure. Recently I began to talk about the healing that has taken place during that time. What did I find? That people were upset that I […]

  • 0321 Women, War and Wellness

    For this episode I cover multiple books to add to the discussion of women in the military, the differences they face, and how competition seems to hinder our healing in the veteran community more than it helps. Learning different perspectives or discussing the various experiences we can […]

  • 0320 Physically Intact, But Still...

    In the veteran community we talk about transition often. Mostly because we can all agree and acknowledge that it has a major impact on all of us. But why don't we talk about the transitions that take place in our service more often? They impact us, too. When I returned from deployment, I […]

  • 0319 There and Back Again

    Marine Corps Veteran and co-host of Cancelled for Maintenance Podcast, Six, returns to the show so that we can discuss deployments. Specifically, the transition from being home, to being overseas, and then being home again. We try to cover all angles regarding this topic, offering insight […]

  • 0318 Descent, Attempt, Recovery

    This episode is based off information from Dr. Richard A. Heckler's "Waking Up, Alive." Lani discusses her most recent book recommendation and shares her experience with unhealed trauma and how it led to her descent into suicidal thinking, the suicidal trance, and how she moved on from […]

  • 0317 "The Wounds Within" (Pt. 2)

    This episode covers the second half of the book, "The Wounds Within: A Veteran, A PTSD Therapist, and a Nation Unprepared" by Mark Nickerson and Joshua Goldstein. In this episode, I cover warning signs, risk factors, changes made by the VA and military, and stories about poor leadership […]

  • 0316 "The Wounds Within" (Pt. 1)

    September is Suicide Prevention Month. For this episode I talk about the book "The Wounds Within: A Veteran, A PTSD Therapist, And a Nation Unprepared" by Mark Nickerson and Joshua Goldstein. This episode covers PTSD, suicide, VA and military failures, the stigma held by our society, and […]

  • 0315 20 years

    I had not expected to release an episode this week, but with everything going on I just needed a place to process my thoughts and I chose to do that here. We all had different perspectives, opinions, and experiences involving the war in Afghanistan. It was a 20 year war that some feel […]

  • 0314 Vigilant Valkyrie "Unseen Warrior" Event

    The Valkyrie Veteran Convention "The Unseen Warrior" will be taking place September 25th, from 2 to 7 PM MST, at The Enlisted Association Chapter 1 in Colorado Springs. Event information and ticket links can be found by going to Vigilant Valkyrie's website: […]

  • 0313 Reflection

    I reached a point after experiencing trauma where I could hardly stand to look at myself in the mirror. Mostly because that reflection forced me to see that I had changed. Dealing with and healing from trauma has been a long, difficult road. The first step towards reclaiming myself was […]

  • 0312 Power of Stories

    Stories are powerful. They allow histories and traditions to be shared with future generations. They provide wisdom and insight. For some of us, stories were the way we learned to communicate and acknowledge deeply rooted pain and trauma. For myself, stories allowed me to break a silence […]

  • 0311 Soldier Up

    Transition is rough. That is something that many veterans can agree on. But what happens during our transition varies. This episode covers everything from my struggle to leave the military behind, the poor coping mechanisms I learned, mistakes made during transition, using training to […]

  • 0310 The POG Diaries

    When Kruse Corner was still just a blog, there was a section that contained excerpts from a journal I had kept while deployed to Afghanistan. I had shared it with the intention of presenting another perspective of a combat zone. The Kruse Corner Podcast just had its 2-year anniversary and […]

  • 0309 No Man of War

    This episode was not recorded to try to downplay anything people have gone through, especially in war. It isn't to make combat sound as though all can relate to every aspect of it. If you have the badass war story that you say you do, then you already know others cannot take that away by […]

  • 0308 Here Nor There

    After leaving the Army, I often found myself wanting to go back, but I knew deep down my dreams of a military career were over. Years later I would become an Army spouse and while a part of me was attracted to the idea of being connected to the military again, I quickly discovered […]

  • 0303 - Toxic Exposure

    Between the WWII vets that were near atomic bomb testing, the Vietnam and Gulf War veterans that were around chemicals, and Post 9/11-era veterans that were stationed near burn pits, millions of military personnel have been exposed to toxins that are causing them to suffer or die. These […]

  • 0302 - Ready to Listen?

    Everywhere you look on social media, you can find people talking about domestic violence, abuse, or sexual assault. There are entire pages and organizations dedicated to these topics. So, if so many are talking about it and sharing their experiences, why aren't changes being made? Why […]

  • 0301 - Talking P-T-S-D

    With June being PTSD Awareness Month, it only seemed right to kick-off season 3 sharing what I have learned about PTSD and PTS. This is a topic I have covered in past episodes, but based on feedback and reactions, it is clear that the stigma and misperceptions surrounding this trauma and […]

  • Kruse Corner Podcast (Trailer)
  • Memorial Day 2021

    It is always surprising to hear how many people don't know why we have Memorial Day. This episode is to explain what Memorial day is and what it means to others. For this episode, Lani will read a number of messages that were sent to her from other veterans, service members, and members […]

  • S02E16 - Times Can Change

    Due to avoiding negative stereotypes and feeling like being "one of the guys" was the safest way to belong in the military, women sometimes create barriers for each other during their time in service. I left the Army feeling bitter towards other women because of how I had been treated, […]

  • S02E15 - A Pill For A Pill

    For this episode, Lani shares her personal story about dealing with prescription drug use. She describes what began to happen to her body after doctors continued to stack pill upon pill in her system for years and then one day, without warning, took them all away.

  • S02E14 - Alyssa's Story

    For this episode I am joined by, Alyssa, who served in the Army as a generator mechanic. Alyssa describes her time in Korea, the successes and challenges of fighting for benefits, her reaction to the Vanessa Guillen story, and how she reached the decision to not remain silent any longer. […]

  • S02E13 - The Invisible Women

    From overcoming sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, to having our achievements criticized or belittled, and constantly having to prove that we are better than those stereotypes and low expectations that follow us wherever we go; women are met with a number of challenges the […]

  • S02E12 - J Marie from Women With An Effed Up Mind

    For this episode, I will be talking with fellow podcaster, J Marie, who runs the Women With An Effed Up Mind Podcast. We will be discussing domestic violence and how it is handled by both the military and the civilian sides. We share our stories of dealing with and surviving domestic […]

  • S02E11 - My PTSD Story

    It took a fair amount of time for me to admit that I struggled with PTSD, but it took even longer to convince people that the pain and fear I felt was legitimate. As a woman, I was often treated as though I was being dramatic or lying; as a combat veteran, I didn't have the story people […]

  • S02E10 - Six from Cancelled for Maintenance Podcast

    For this episode I am joined by, Six, a Marine Corps Veteran and co-host for Cancelled for Maintenance Podcast. We sit down to talk about transitioning out of the military, the misperceptions and stereotypes about what a veteran looks and acts like, poor leadership, mental health, and how […]

  • S02E09 - Home is Where the Heart Is

    When I returned from my deployment to Afghanistan, I struggled to find the same comforts and connections I had found while in a combat zone. Then once I returned to a civilian life, I struggled to find where I belonged. When I finally opened up about feeling lost and out of place to a […]

  • S02E08 - Take A Number

    Between leadership that could care less if an individual is suffering and veterans that only look to tear others down for the ways in which they choose to heal or help; no wonder so many choose silence over opening up. Add in the relentless and too often hateful world of social media and […]

  • S02E07 - Invisible Wars

    Is mental illness something you can see? Does a person's outer appearance speak for the pain inside? Some think so, however, others are too aware of the masks we place over invisible wounds.

  • S02E06 - Beasts of Burden

    Empathy. Something I didn't expect to find in the Army. Aside from making the deep emotional bonds I had possible, it helped me to truly understand the pain of those I served with. A gift and a curse, in so many ways.

  • S02E05 - Here to Stay

    Suicide. A word surrounded by stigma. An action that triggers a multitude of emotions. A daunting thought. Often an unpredictable end. It is a tough discussion to have, but a discussion that needs to take place, nonetheless. If we can't talk about it, how will anyone truly understand. […]

  • S02E04 - Bottle Up and Explode

    Depression, anxiety, and a whole lot of pills. My struggle with finding care and managing the invisible war occurring inside my head. *Disclaimer: The host is not a medical professional or engaged in rendering counseling or other professional services, and the views presented in this […]

  • S02E03 - Belonging Again

    Coming home from a deployment, leaving the military, transitioning back into a civilian life; each a challenge in itself. How do you find purpose when you're not sure of who you are, or where you fit in?

  • S02E02 - Barriers to Reaching Out

    In the Army, I learned how to bottle things up. As a veteran, I began to hide, and I saw a number of my buddies doing the same. Resources existed. People were asking what was wrong. Why did the silence and the isolation continue? And how do we still miss the signs?

  • S02E01 Back to the Beginning

    The start of a new season, "Back to the Beginning." Host, Lani, returns to take the Kruse Corner Podcast back to its start by covering topics related to veteran and military issues. Reach out on Instagram @kruse_corner if you would like to be a part of a future episode.

  • EP. 36 Vigilant Valkyrie

    Listen in to hear the interview with Vigilant Valkyrie's founder, Smiles. Vigilant Valkyrie's mission is to connect and support female warriors of all branches. In this episode, we discuss tough lessons learned in the military, overcoming female stereotypes/stigmas, and Vigilant […]

  • Motorcycle Charity Ride with Mark Czarnecki

    Mark Czarnecki has returned to the Kruse Corner Podcast to talk about a cross-country motorcycle ride he will be completing  to help raise money for the Green Beret Foundation. Listen in to hear important details about this charity ride so that you can track Mark's progress as he rides […]

  • EP. 35 - We Are Vanessa Guillen

    The disappearance of Vanessa Guillen from Fort Hood has gained national attention. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we tell our stories. MST is a painful topic, but our stories can be what brings about the change that will keep our brothers and sisters that still wear the […]

  • EP. 34 - Jon from Household 5 Soap Co.

    Army Veteran Jon Bradshaw joins me to talk about his Veteran Owned and Family Operated business, Household 5 Soap Company, which specializes in handmade vegan soaps and other body products. Jon and I discuss the struggles of reintegrating into a civilian life, connecting with other […]

  • EP. 33 - Lauren Feringa from Hippie and a Veteran

    Army Veteran Lauren Feringa from Hippie and a Veteran joins me to talk about the struggles of being a woman and a mother with PTSD. Lauren talks about a number of alternative therapies that exist outside of the VA system such as Stellate Ganglion Block, cannabis, and psychedelics. We also […]

  • EP. 32 - Robert Dabney Jr from VetPark

    Army Veteran, Robert Dabney Jr, joins me to talk about his Veteran-Owned organization VetPark. VetPark is on a mission to encourage healing through creativity, supporting the arts, building community, connecting veterans, and providing opportunities to those that are interested in […]

  • EP. 31 - Brian Basho from I Got Your 6 Podcast

    Marine Veteran and founder of the I Got Your 6 Podcast, Brian Basho, joins me this episode to talk PTSD, inner demons, and military service. We also break down the ridiculous criticisms and unnecessary competition that takes place when people attempt to open up about struggle and trauma. […]

  • EP. 30 - Ron Millward, Balanced Veterans

    In this episode I am joined by Air Force Veteran, Ron Millward, who is also the founder of the nonprofit organization, Balanced Veterans. How do you find balance? Listen in to find out how faith, the VA, and cannabis all played a part in this veteran’s story to discover who he is […]

  • EP. 29 - The Rock Guns

    Custom guns, cerakote application, public and private classes! What more could you want? Maybe a .50 Cal Pirate Pistol? Listen in to hear my conversation with Army Veteran Mark Czarnecki from The Rock Guns. We talk business, transitioning out of the Army, and a custom Deadpool gun. If you […]

  • Ep. 28 - Army Veteran Rebecca VanReenen

    There is a side to the military that is rarely talked about, along with the actions of service members that are too often swept under the rug. In this episode, I am joined by Army Veteran, Rebecca VanReenen. Rebecca served as a paralegal and her experience in JAG offers insight into the […]

  • EP. 27 - Plants 4 Vets, Army Veteran

    Army Veteran and founder of Plants 4 Vets sits down to talk about her experience in the Army. We cover everything from being a woman in the armed forces, the difficulties with building camaraderie within units, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), military sexual trauma (MST), and […]

  • EP.26 - Liberty Bell Customs

    Dustan, a Navy Veteran and the owner of Liberty Bell Customs, joins Lani to discuss his business, leaving the military, and how he uses "sawdust therapy" to help other veterans. Listen to find out more about Liberty Bell Customs, Freedom Flag Builds, the FurMissile Fundraiser to get K-9 […]

  • EP. 25 - 4 Best LLC Q&A

    Kruse Corner welcomes back Army Veteran and owner/founder of 4 Best LLC, Gilberto "Chuco" Zavala, for a Q&A session to give listeners the opportunity to interact with the podcast. If you have questions for our guests, we'll get the answers. This episode also covers the COVID-19 […]

  • EP. 24 - Shawn Moulenbelt from 51 Bravo

    In this episode, Lani sits down with Army Veteran, Shawn Moulenbelt, owner and founder of 51 Bravo Custom Knives. From working construction to creating custom knives, Shawn describes his transition from the military back to being a civilian and how he found himself creating custom knives […]

  • EP. 23 - Navy Veteran, Craig

    When guest interviews were added to the podcast, Kruse Corner host, Lani, found that many veterans felt they didn't have a story that was worth making an episode about. The idea on this podcast was to invite people from all walks of life. Lani felt that connecting veterans and sharing a […]

  • EP. 22: Anthony Chapa of BlackSheep Bravo

    In this episode, Lani sits down with Marine Veteran, Anthony Chapa. Anthony discusses leaving for the Marine Corps after high school and the various jobs he had after he transitioned back to being a civilian. He studied Clinical Mental Health Counseling and now hosts/produces the talk […]

  • Episode 20: Seth Brees from The Veterans Advocate

    Seth Brees served in the United States Air Force from 2005 to 2017 as an imagery analyst and vehicle mechanic. He began, The Veterans Advocate, to aid in building community and resources for other veterans. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Passageways LTD, which is a nonprofit […]

  • Episode 19: Army Veteran Dr. Lance Davis DC

    What do you do when the treatment methods you are receiving aren't giving you the results you want? You try something else. Too often, veterans seeking help will end therapy altogether when the changes they expected, or simply hoped for, don't appear. On this episode, we interview Army […]

  • Episode 18: Gilberto "Chuco" (Retired Army Ranger)

    Every service member faces various obstacles during their time in the military. Some of these appear as personal struggles that are a result of the experiences we had or the things we faced on or after a deployment. Sometimes these struggles appear as PTSD or suicidal ideation. Other […]

  • Episode 16: First Anniversary

    The Kruse Corner Blog was launched one year ago, standing as both a homage to an Army Veteran that had taken his own life and as a reminder that, if we are going to bring an end to veteran suicide, we have to learn to have some tough conversations. That is why in the year that Kruse […]