Veterans passing on knowledge in project

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2010

People have a lot they can learn from veterans, and Matt Potter wants to make sure that happens.

Potter, a sophomore at Ashland Community and Technical College, has taken on a project outside of his academic studies to give veterans an opportunity to tell their stories.

Potter was searching the Library of Congress’ website when he found something he wanted to be a part of. It is called “Veterans History Project” and the purpose is to enable veterans to tell their stories to future generations, allowing people to hear the truth about war from those who have experienced it firsthand.

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Potter has interviewed approximately 35 veterans and is looking for more people who are willing to share their stories.

“They are kind of hesitant about it at first, but when they see how it will benefit everyone in the future, they are willing to do it,” Potter said.

Jack Nuckols, 84, of Ashland, was a private first class in the U.S. Marine Corp from 1944 until 1946 and said he thought the project was a fantastic idea.

“I think it’s great he’s bringing all this out about the veterans,” Nuckols said. “It will bring to light what the vets have done and help them speak up and be heard.”

Nuckols said this is an opportunity for veterans who haven’t had anyone to share their experience with to make their story known.

Nuckols said he hopes that his life story will help people gain a better understanding of the tragic loss from the Battle of Okinawa.

In addition to the war experiences, Potter said he also encourages the veterans to share stories from their personal lives, both before and after the war.

The videos are given to the Library of Congress, and Potter is hoping to form a repository here in the Tri-State where people can search the collections locally.

Potter said the project is for all veterans, but he is especially interested in World War II veterans, as there are so few of them still living.

Any veterans interested in participating in the project may call Matt Potter at (606) 471-5891.