Manila students take on veteran project to preserve history

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Pictured from left are: Col. (Ret.) Anita Deason, military and veterans affairs liaison from the office of Senator John Boozman; Alex Cole, Micah Beach, Madison Bibbs and Sydney Adcock. Not pictured: Ryan Hallett. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Manila East Initiative students will be preserving history through live interviews with area veterans as they take on the Veterans History Project (VHP). Video interviews will be submitted to the Library of Congress.

VHP’s mission is to collect, preserve and make accessible the accounts of American veterans so future generations may hear directly from the men and women who served.

Students involved in the project include Sydney Adcock, Madison Bibbs, Micah Beach, Alex Cole and Ryan Hallett. Christy Woody serves as the EAST Initiative facilitator.

Students welcomed Col. (Ret.) Anita Deason, military and veterans affairs liaison with Senator John Boozman's office; and Courtney Nance, field representative with Sen. Boozman’s office, for an afternoon of training on Oct. 16.

Deason presented an informative lesson on how to conduct the interviews; how to submit the videos; the student’s responsibility; and guidelines for the videos submitted to the Library of Congress.

Deason travels the state working for veterans and their families.

“Veterans are everywhere,” Deason said. “Look around the churches, schools, VFW, American Legions and families.”

She went on to say Arkansas is a small state but it is a patriotic state.

“We have 222,000 veterans in Arkansas,” she said. “We did have 250,000 but we are losing many of our World War II and Korean veterans.”

Deason said Sen. Boozman highlights veterans each month. She pulled up the senator's website with the Veterans History Project.

“Remember in these interviews, you will be touching lives,” Deason said. “It can be a healing process.”

In addition to giving technical advice on the videos, she reminded the students to always be respectful, do a pre-interview leaving a list of questions and make sure the veterans being interviewed are comfortable.

Each student was presented a field kit with step by step instructions on conducting and preserving interviews. The book contained sample questions, veteran and interviewer’s release forms, recording log, photo log and other pertinent information. Deason stressed to the students the videos cannot be edited. They can stop the interview and restart if needed.

The students thanked both Deason and Nance for their assistance in helping them get started with the veteran’s project.

A question and answer session was held. Nance is in the Jonesboro office and encouraged students to contact her if they needed any assistance.

Students also hope to spotlight the veterans on facebook or website. They would also like to do research to share pertinent information important to the veterans.

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