VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 19   |   MAY 11 – 17, 2011

MAY 11, 2011

Veterans Heritage Project celebrates veterans and students

Carefree resident Blaine Keith, Sonoran News Sports Reporter Pete Mohr featured in book

lloyd kilmerLloyd Kilmer, featured also in Tom Brokaw's book The Greatest Generation, signs his story in VHP’s Since You Asked. 
Courtesy photo

Carefree-based Veterans Heritage Project “VHP,” a 501(c)(3) non-profit, celebrated the debut of its 7th volume of Since You Asked: Arizona Veterans Share Their Memories at a reception and book signing at ASU West’s conference center in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday, April 17. Over 500 people attended the book signing, including many of the 71 veterans whose stories of service were chronicled by students from four Arizona schools as well as veterans interviewed for previous editions. Keynote speaker and supporter Col. Joey Strickland, who is currently the director of Arizona’s Department of Veterans Services, said, “This project is important to Arizona because of the students. They listen, capture and learn the stories from veterans of every Branch of the Military. Because of their efforts, future generations will know and value these servicemen and women’s sacrifice to preserve our nation’s freedom.”

Sixty students from Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, Show Low High School, Canyon Valley School in Gilbert, and Shea Middle School in Paradise Valley contributed stories to the Purple Heart edition of the book which include those of veterans from World War II through the Gulf Wars and Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan.

VHP Scholarships
VHP directors Dick Doubek and Laura Byers were pleased to announce the 2011 scholarship winners at the event. The finalists were chosen based on essays written telling of their experience with the Project. Some wrote about why they got involved, while others told of what they had learned and done.

Awards ranged from $250 to $750.

To be eligible, seniors had to have been active members in the club; have two years of participation; and be eligible for full-time undergraduate admission to an accredited four-year college or university, a two-year college or trade school, or be destined to any branch of the U.S. Military. The following are brief excerpts from their essays.

Tied for Third Place ($250 each)
Austin Anton: VHP not only spiked his interest in history, but allowed him to share in the experiences and lives of each of the three veterans he had interviewed. They not only trusted him with their memories, but gave him advice on how to go about his life and his future choices.

Olivia Slack: Each minute she spends with the Project, another veteran is being touched by what she and fellow students do. The interviews she has been on and written about have taught her history and compassion.

Second Place ($500)
Lexi Williams: Interviewing a retired Army Purple Heart recipient in her kitchen changed her life. She could not have imagined this Vietnam Veteran getting so emotional, he had to excuse himself to recompose. That’s when the importance of the Project hit her. She has learned to listen and appreciate the people around her.

First Place ($750)
Ashley Schaefer: Once you lead a veteran by the hand, he will lead you by his; there is no greater feeling than to allow him to tell you his story and unravel a piece of his heart he never hoped to unravel. He can never take back what he did, but he can hope you will learn from his history to make a better one for the future.

VHP Scholarship Chairman Dick Doubek said, “Each one of the students in the program comes away with an appreciation for what makes this country so great. They have also worked incredibly hard in producing our latest book. Students, thank you all for a terrific job, we are all very proud of you! And veterans - thank you for sharing a part of your lives and your wisdom with them.”

Anderson and MOWW Scholarships
Sun City resident Jerry Anderson contributed $100 each to the best boy and girl in the Project in honor of Bob Anderson, his uncle, who died on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941, and Lou B. Anderson, his mother, a teacher with a passion for teaching young people. This year’s recipients were Austin Anton and Ashley Schaefer.

MOWW (Military Order of the World Wars) awarded a Patrick Henry Bronze Award to Senior Ashley Schaefer for her work laying out the last two volumes of Since You Asked, honoring America’s veterans. Presenting the award were Chapter President Debbie Minor and veteran John Finical.

Special thanks to Kiwanis of Carefree
VHP is very appreciative of Kiwanis of Carefree for their generous $2,000 donation to the Project, which made the scholarships possible. This is the second year in a row that Kiwanis has donated to the program. Thank you Kiwanis and all of VHP’s longtime supporters, and all the students, veterans, advisors, families and friends of this year’s Project.

About VHP
VHP is dedicated to preserving the stories of America’s veterans. Students interview veterans from both wartime and peacetime, from all branches of the United States Military, and write down their experiences into essays. These essays are then compiled by Project members into a published volume of stories, which is sent to the Library of Congress through the Veterans History Project, the governmental and national version of VHP. The Project expects to add schools from a number of states, creating student programs to interview veterans nation-wide. Thus far, the Project has seen approximately 175 students interview over 450 veterans, with their stories published in seven volumes of Since You Asked, Arizona Veterans Share Their Memories.

For more information on the Project or book sales please call VHP director Barbara Hatch at 602-571-1248 or go to VHP’s website: www.VeteransHeritage.org. Tax deductible donations to the 501(c)(3) non-profit would be greatly appreciated, and may be sent to Veterans Heritage Project, POB 1297, Carefree, AZ 85377.

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