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County veterans encouraged to share their stories

Veterans memorial supporters, library leaders and historical society members have begun an oral history project that will collect stories of Lawrence County’s fighting men and women.

Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Veterans memorial supporters, library leaders and historical society members have begun an oral history project that will collect stories of Lawrence County’s fighting men and women.

&uot;A project like this is a long time coming, because we are losing a tremendous amount of history,&uot; said Sharon Bradshaw, Veterans Memorial Committee member.

&uot;Our goal is to get the oral history of every veteran who wants to share their story.&uot;

Teaming together, the committee, Briggs Lawrence County Public Library and the Lawrence County Historical Society will administer the project in accordance with guidelines set by the Library of Congress.

The library and volunteers from the other organizations will seek veterans, contact them and record their stories. The effort will include individual accounts from every war or conflict, and some small group discussions.

Area veterans organizations will receive letters soon detailing the project and asking for names of veterans to include in the oral history.

Once complete, the histories will be permanently displayed at the Briggs Library’s Hamner Room and other public places – on tape, cross referenced with digital photos and documents, and in book form. Another goal is to transfer the histories to computer CDs.

&uot;We want to preserve their histories and stories in their own words before we lose any more of them,&uot; said Joe Jenkins, library director.

The project, which will also provide history tapes of county veterans to the Library of Congress’ World War II project, will become a legacy that future generations of Lawrence Countians can see and hear, said Dave Milem and Gary Stout, historical society members.

The next steps for the Lawrence County Veterans Oral History Project include adding names to the already growing list of veterans and seeking volunteer interviewers.

Martha Kounse, local history and genealogy room manager at Briggs, will train volunteers on the oral history project. The library will provide recording equipment.

The library will also copy or electronically scan photos, documents and other items veterans would like to share so that the originals do not have to leave veterans’ homes, she said.

Most interviews will be done in veterans’ homes, however, they can be done where it’s most convenient to the veterans, she added.

If you are a veteran, or know a veteran that would like to participate in this project, or if you would like to volunteer to assist in the project, call Martha Kounse at 532-4943, or e-mail Briggs Library (marthak@briggslibrary.com). A sign up sheet also appears on the library’s Web site (www.briggslibrary.com).