Telling: Tampa Bay Page

Telling: Tampa Bay

This program occasionally contains strong language
(which may be unsuitable for children).

Telling: Tampa Bay premiered in the spring of 2015 with stage performances by six Florida veterans and one military spouse. In dramatic presentations to community audiences, they told their own personal stories about how and why they served, the injuries and challenges they’ve had to overcome, and how they are transitioning back into civilian life. They received standing ovations at five Tampa Bay-area performances. At left, watch a video of the full-length stage production.

Following this success, in fall 2015, we sponsored a one-hour public-television documentary featuring these veterans and chronicling their experiences in telling their stories on stage. “Veterans—The Telling Project,” which we produced with Tampa Bay’s WEDU PBS TV, premieres Nov. 5, 2015 will be available for broadcast on public television stations throughout the state and nation.

We sponsored both the stage performances and the television documentary in partnership with the national Telling Project, founded in 2008 to help bridge the communication gap with an American society in which less than 1 percent of the population has served in the military over the past dozen years of war. The Telling Project, which has been hosted by organizations in more than a dozen states, is designed to help promote meaningful communication between veterans and their country.

See a sample of the television documentary here

Meet the Cast


Terri Davis

Served six years (1982-1988) as a Navy cryptologic technician in Washington, D.C., and Iceland. The Bradenton resident has degrees in business administration and criminal justice, is a graduate of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Academy, and has served in Manatee County law enforcement for 15 years. She is CEO of Key Konnections, whose mission is connecting companies with causes.


Michael Dunlap

Served six years (1976-1982) in the Marine Corps and, upon honorable discharge, roamed the country. He eventually found assistance at the VA domiciliary program in St. Petersburg. After vocational rehab, he became a specialist with the nonprofit Service Source Warrior Bridge, assisting disabled, unemployed, and homeless veterans seeking employment. He lives in Largo.


Jessica McVay

Served five years (2005-2010) in the Marine Corps as an Airframes Mechanic, was medically retired, and has a service dog named Radar. The Palmetto resident’s top priority now is motherhood, but she sees the Marines as an ongoing part of her life; she has been adjutant and commandant for the Marine Corps League, Desoto Detachment #588 and does service work with veterans.


Scott Owens

Served nearly nine years (2000-2009) as an infantryman with the Army’s famed 101st Airborne Division, including two tours in Iraq. The Largo resident, who has traveled the country advocating for veterans’ employment and housing, received the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Award and directed the $50,000 grant to the Abilities Foundation to help disabled veterans. He is a fulltime college student studying political science.


Shannon Owens

As wife of Scott Owens, she has one of the hardest jobs in the military—that of a spouse. The couple became engaged in 2002 and married in 2004 after he returned from Iraq. She made sure he got counseling help when he needed it. They have three children, and she served as an active member of the Family Readiness Group.


Ryan Simonson

Served 13 years (1998-2011) in the Army, including multiple tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the armor branch. A Florida native, he joined the Army at age 17 by accepting a nomination to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He lives with his wife, also an Army officer, and three children in Sarasota, where he teaches at Sarasota Military Academy Prep.


Taylor Urruela

Served 6½ years (2004-2011) as an Army infantryman, including service in Iraq, where he was wounded by two roadside bombs, resulting in the loss of a leg below the knee. After four years of rehabilitation, he transitioned into civilian life and encountered issues with veterans’ health care and PTSD. Now a Tampa resident, he co-founded the nonprofit VetSports to encourage injured veterans to participate in sports, has begun a career as a personal trainer and model, and is writing a novel.


Lisa Powers

Director for the Telling: Tampa Bay stage productions. Powers has worked extensively as a theater professional, drama therapist, and educator and is well known in the Tampa Bay area for her work as an actor and former artistic director at American Stage. She has also worked as director of the Florida Humanities Council’s “Dreamers and Schemers” historical stage productions around the state.

Telling: Tampa Bay is produced in partnership with The Telling Project with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and the Saunders Foundation. Photos by Danny Bruno, WEDU PBS.