Every veteran has a story to tell and the representatives of the Veterans History Project want to record those stories to share with future generations. Their lives reflect USA history and the manner in which a veteran serves their country and family, and ultimately builds their life.
The Veterans History Project was created by the United States Congress in 2000.
The First Presbyterian Church of Brandon (FPCB) became a host site for the interviews in January 2016. The Florida West Coast Region of the American Red Cross supervises and staffs the project. To date, the Brandon project has recorded 42 interviews encompassing a variety of veterans’ experiences since that time. A digital recording is sent to the Library of Congress for preservation, and grateful families receive a treasured DVD of the interview. The service is free.
The successful project continues with appointments available in November and December. A private interview with an experienced interviewer from the Red Cross is recorded at FPCB. The Brandon project has conducted interviews of vets from World War II through Operation Enduring Freedom: combat vets and military support staff, including women who served. Gold Star families may record the history of their loved one.
Jim McNeil, who served in the Army during the Korean conflict, said, “I am grateful to Judy Smolk and everyone else who made me aware of the Veterans History Project and offered me the opportunity for my military experience to be recorded for the future.” McNeil’s military experience took place from August 1951 until July 1953. “The story of my service to my country has been repeated many times by me to my children, and now to know that my military experience has been recorded and will be sent to the Library of Congress for preservation which will allow future generations of my family and the world to continue to read facts of my military experience.”
FPCB is located at 121 Carver Ave. in Brandon. For information, contact the FPCB at 689-4597.