Volunteer video tapes veterans' untold stories of war to help document history

Stories shared with Library of Congress

LOVELAND, Colo. - Everyone has a story to tell. But for many veterans it is often easier to talk to a stranger about the intensity of combat than share with a loved one.

That is where this 7Everyday Hero Brad Hoopes can help.

Hoopes loves history, especially the World War II era. Six years ago he started interviewing veterans he met about their wartime experiences.

"I learned the Library of Congress collects these stories so I thought why not do this on a local level?  I went out and bought a video camera and just started doing it," said Hoopes.

Hoopes has since interviewed more than 400 veterans of various conflicts, people like World War II veteran Daryl Haerther.

"He (Hoopes) has a talent that is hard to describe on how he can do an interview," said Haerther.

Haerther served with the 96th Infantry Division, nicknamed the "Deadeye" division in the Pacific.

His bravery earning him the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart in the battle of Okinawa.

For years some of his memories were too painful to share. Then, he met Brad Hoopes.

"I have had the occasion to have other interviews but not nearly the caliber that he is able to do," said Haerther.

"My approach to the interviews is the human experience, the human perspective. To me, that adds a powerful dimension to the facts and figures we already have.  Everybody has a story.  Everybody has a unique story.  And I would be a multimillionaire if I got a nickel for every time someone said:  'I don't have a story,' and by the end of the interview my jaw is on the floor because they had an incredible story," said Hoopes.

Hoopes has spent thousands of hours collecting stories that have shaped our nation's history and our veteran's lives.

"I interviewed a guy and the next morning I got a call from his wife. She said:  'I wanted to thank you and let you know last night was the first time in 60 years that he slept through the night.'  So, I think he had stuff to get off his chest," said Hoopes.

Hoopes calls his project Remember and Honor. Thanks to his efforts future generations can now honor these stories as well.

"I think it is something that every veteran should do, because it is a part of life that the family should know about," said Haerther.

To learn more about Remember and Honor to www.rememberandhonor.com

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