A Marine Corps order to the Nevada National Security Site left Donald Guy suffering from the effects of radiation exposure until his death in 2009. Now his wife, Mary Guy, 77, of Jacksonville is fighting to prevent the same thing from happening to future service members.
“What happened to my husband, it could happen to a lot of the other guys,” she said. “They ought to know it in advance.”
To raise awareness, Guy was brought on board for a documentary called “Radioactive Veteran.” The film explores the story of Donald Guy, but the filmmakers eventually hope to work on another documentary featuring additional veterans who were exposed to radiation in Nevada and investigate the legal troubles the affected have faced.
Guy said she still questions why her husband was sent to a radiated area.
“He was the only one from his platoon that went,” she said. “That’s what burnt me up. It destroyed his life.”
Her voice illustrated her pain as she explained how the radiation destroyed his bones and led to surgery after surgery to replace them.
Producer Bradley Bethel and Director Mark Wampler are hoping to share that story with a larger audinece.
“I think it’s important for all of us, whether we’re a veteran or not, to understand this message because we have to hold our government accountable,” producer Bradley Bethel said. “We hope that will compel viewers to demand justice in all areas of government, and specifically there aren’t many of these radiated veterans left.”
Director Mark Wampler served in the Marine Corps Reserves. He said the Guys’ story is near to his heart.
“(Mary’s story) is inspiring to me,” he said. “Who wants to represent these people from a legal standpoint?”
Wampler recently graduated from North Carolina Central University School of Law.
While production and filming has been completed, Bethel and Wampler say they need to raise $10,000 to complete post-production.
“The obstacle right now is raising the rest of the fund to make this as great of a film as this deserves,” Bethel said. “That’s why we want this film to be completed at the highest level so it can attract the most amount of attention on the story.”
The fundraiser is available at SeedAndSpark.com/studio/Radioactive-veteran, and a trailer for the documentary is available at its website RadioactiveVeteran.com. Any donation of $15 will qualify the donor to see the film ahead of other viewers and a contribution of $50 will receive an invitation to a special preview.
“In some ways, it’s been really inspiring because it’s such a powerful story, but we’ve really been able to put it together to tell this story in a film that will really be powerful and tell this story,” he said. “I’ve been inspired, I’ve been moved and I’m confident that the final product is going to be a really important contribution to discussions about veterans.”
The filmmakers are hoping to release the documentary online for free on Veterans’ Day and hope that this documentary will make an impact in the nation.
“Their families are still living, so we need to do better…We as a nation need to do better at taking care of the radiated veterans and their families,” Wampler said. “We hope this film will challenge people to demand better care for radiated veterans and their families.”
Although she said she knows she can’t bring her husband back, Guy says she hopes that some good will come from the documentary.
“I’ve been without a husband now for years,” Mary Guy said. “(This documentary) might help some of the other guys who are in the service.”