Army Veteran Josh Strickland is a family man, the lead singer of the Phoenix-based band the Bayou Bandits, and a registered nurse who has worked through the COVID-19 pandemic in some of the hardest-hit areas of the United States.

Music has always been a part of Strickland’s life. When he was growing up in Walker, La., he sang in his church’s choir, and his father and brother were both singers. After his service, Strickland played music at a saloon in Scottsdale, Ariz., and eventually founded his own band with his friends, Jeremy Magid, Paul Williams and Stevie Belcastro.

The Bayou Bandits had been preparing for a tour when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Strickland started working as a travel nurse with COVID-19 patients in New Jersey in early March, before eventually returning to Phoenix to continue respond to local outbreaks in Arizona.

Strickland has also worked with nonprofits focused on helping Veterans, such as the Southern Arizona Musicians for Healing, which uses music to raise awareness and funds for Veterans and others struggling with mental health issues. He is also a founding member of the Veterans IV Veterans Motorcycle Association, which helps Veterans going through crises and provides for them in times of need.


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Rob Laucius is a podcast intern with the VA’s Digital Media Engagement Team. He is an undergraduate student at Hillsdale College studying History.

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One Comment

  1. Michael P Lyda June 16, 2020 at 11:42 am

    I listen to this podcast every week and really enjoy it!! I need some help. Who could I contact if I feel like I’m being passed over for a position because of my veterans status?

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