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Movie screening benefits JBLM Fisher House

The war in Afghanistan through the eyes of a journalist

Armed only with their cameras, journalist Mike Boettcher and his son, Carlos, provide unprecedented access into the longest war in U.S. history.

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It's one thing to hear about what happens during war or read about it the newspaper. It's another thing entirely to witness firsthand what the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces endure while serving downrange. For those not in the military, the opportunity to know what really happens in combat is limited and often skewed by the media.

Nick Junka, a self-proclaimed "normal guy" from Eatonville, wants people to know what really happens to servicemembers when they are deployed, so he is organizing a screening of the documentary movie The Hornet's Nest at the Roxy Theater in Eatonville, Oct. 11.

Released in May, but not shown widely in the Puget Sound area, The Hornet's Nest illustrates the nuances of America's longest war through the eyes of Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist Mike Boettcher and his son, Carlos. The Boettchers were embedded for a year in Afghanistan with three brigades from the 101st Airborne Division and a Marine battalion.

They "bravely followed the troops through the fiercest and most blood-soaked battlegrounds of the conflict," according to the movie's website ( "What resulted is an intensely raw feature film experience that will give audiences a deeply emotional and authentic view of the heroism at the center of this gripping story."

Earlier this year, Junka attended a screening of the movie at the University of Washington with his friend Tiffany Burgess, whose husband, Staff Sgt. Brian Burgess, was killed during the movie's filming.

Afterward, Junka said, he was inspired, "to do more."

He told Tiffany that he was going to do what he could to get the movie into local theaters.

"Seeing this movie inspired me to do more than just shake (a veteran's) hand and say thank you," said Junka, a married father of two who works at Green Mountain Coffee as a machine operator. "This movie will actually connect the civilian population with the military men and women. It doesn't tell you a story as it was told, it shows you the story as it happens."

The documentary "is the real deal," he adds. "It shows the courage, the leadership, the compassion and the professionalism of our men and women. It doesn't show the political side of things like most things try to do nowadays."

In conjunction with the movie's Oct. 11 screening, Junka is holding a fundraiser for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fisher House.

Following her husband's death, Tiffany flew to Dover to meet his body when it returned from Afghanistan, and she stayed at the Fisher House there. "It stayed with me," said Junka, whose father and grandfather served in the military, "and I know how much good Fisher House does - what it offers - (like) the availability for people to stay close to Madigan if their loved ones are getting surgery."

With a suggested donation of $10 per seat, he hopes to be able to gift the home with at least $2,500. "I want to give all that money to Fisher House right there on the spot," he said. "My goal is to have as many people as possible fill that theater, see it, buy it, experience it, and demand that it comes out Veteran's Day weekend just to show support for our troops.

"I have the utmost respect for anybody who serves," he continued. "It's time to go beyond talking across the coffee table ... it's time to act and do something."

Junka hopes that the movie, which is also available on DVD, will show people what soldiers really experience when they are downrange.  "People need to know," he said. "A lot of people just pick a political side, and we don't realize what these men and women are doing."

Screening of the 2014 documentary movie The Hornet's Nest (rated R ), 12:45 p.m. Box office opens at 12:15 p.m.; first come, first served. Roxy Theater, 115 Mashell Ave. South, Eatonville. $10 suggested donation. All proceeds benefit the JBLM Fisher House. For more information, visit the event page on Facebook at "Fundraiser for Fisher House JBLM."

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