The Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History has helped tell the unique stories of our young men and women in uniform since opening its doors in 1973. Vital stories are being collected from our young men in women who have not only served in Iraq and Afghanistan, but are students at the University of Kentucky. The concept was realized by Doug Boyd, Director of the center at UK. I have been tasked out to Produce/Manage a pilot series of interviews of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that attend the University of Kentucky. Being a Marine/Afghan veteran myself, I knew that I could speak their language, however I did not know the first thing about conducting in-depth interviews. All I had to go one were "shared-experiences" - - - and that has seemed to get me by well enough to capture some very compelling stories and moments.
I have to thank each and every interviewee for sharing these stories. Recently UK news announced with our press release 2 months ago. Following the news release, a story was written (by a student) for UK's independent student paper, The Kernel. Surprisingly, our project was #4 in President Lee Todd's report to the UK board of trustees! A film class at Penn State has put together a collection of interviews with student Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans.
The project seems very well put together and I think is something that could be adopted by the Journalism/Telecommunications Dept. at UK. The Penn State "Back from Iraq" is a hands-on experience in documentary film-making and oral history interviewing while learning pre- and post-production video techniques. Thus far, I have interviewed a Marine turned government contractor, an Army National Guard Medic who is pursuing a medical degree, a Marine who is studying Political Science and Islamic Studies so he can return to the middle east to improve upon the situation that he saw so many times as a Marine in Iraq. Our website is active and "almost" ready for launch. I will post a URL very soon. The Nunn Center is working on putting together a very dynamic site for all of the content. 03/10/10:
For the past two years I have been surrounded by veterans as an undergrad working with the University of Kentucky Military Veterans so I had a great pool of men and women to start interviewing. I started the series with Nathan Noble, a sophomore studying Social Work at UK. His story is incredible to say the least: he served overseas three times and one as an independent contractor testing weapons systems in Iraq.
My second interview came recommended to me as I was looking for veterans who were deployed several times. Ian Abney has too deployed several times to Iraq with the United States Marines. He shared his story by articulating ever detail which I think truly brought the narrative to life.
He is currently studying Poli-Sci and Islamic Studies, in hopes to one day change and improve upon the lives of those that he encountered in the middle east. His dedication not only to his discipline but his country is quite impressive.
Andrew Napier is a sophomore studying biology at UK with plans to attend medical school after graduation. Andrew was incredibly candid with his story. I really appreciated how well he articulated his experiences in Afghanistan.
His story is very unique and needs to be heard. He was attached to the national guard unit out of Kentucky and was activated when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2006. Napier was a recipient of the Purple Heart in injuries sustained in an IED blast in Southern Afghanistan.
Jon Herst enlisted in the Army and made a combat parachute jump into Iraq in March, 2003. While in Fallujah, Iraq during a routine dismounted patrol, an I.E.D. exploded and Jon was severely injured and spent 11 months at Walter Reed Hospital recovering from his injuries. Jon went on to become a certified peer amputee visitor which allowed him to educate, support and offer advice to wounded veterans and family members.
Jon was medically retired from Walter Reed Medical Center in Jun 2006. Jon is currently enrolled in the University of Kentucky Masters of Social Work program in the graduate school. Jon and his wife, Veronica live in Lexington. I really appreciate Jon sharing his story with me. His story is without a doubt unique and special and deserves to be heard.
Dr. Brian Nolan:
Due to my busy schedule and my inability to capture photos of both the interviewee and myself, we have decided to place the photography duties in the hands of Allison Peevy. Allison takes wonderful pictures and has a great eye for what we are trying to accomplish. Below are just a few of the images she captured at last nights interview. I expect big things from now on! This will truly add/contribute toward the style and direction of this project. Oh and by the way, she is VOLUNTEERING her service out of the goodness of her heart!
From Combat to Kentucky
Combination of logos - v.1 and v.2 +
The response has been phenomenal! A huge thanks to William Wright, a local and very talented graphic artist. With little or no description of the project, Will designed this in minutes. Thanks again.