Letter from Michael Maloney Chair of the Veterans Memorial Park and Digital Library

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Greetings!

I am honored and privileged to report that I was elected as the Chair of the Veterans Memorial Park and Digital Library. Don Dietrich is retiring, and we are very grateful for his past leadership and mentorship. Dennis Young was elected to my prior position of Vice Chair. The Park is 25 years old this year, and its inception’s history is unique. In April 1998, Dr. Jack Harless created the committee to build the park along with Don Dietrich and Doug Black, our other two past Chairs. The Traveling Vietnam Memorial was coming to Greenville, and this special group of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam veterans pulled together and made our glorious Park to give the Wall a place of honor while visiting. It was a rare collaboration between the generations of veterans, and it was important to them that the Park was for all veterans who served. Since the park has had additions and plans are underway to refurbish the stones and walkways.

The other significant addition was the Digital Library we started 8 years ago. Through partnering with Greenville High School’s Wave at GHS and Interactive Media, instructed by Lori Hoover, we have rendered over 400 veteran oral histories. This partnership is a windfall for us both. We get access to a studio and equipment for our mission, and the high school students get practical exercises on producing relevant material. The students are inspired by the program. The growth and creativity blossoming from our students make us beam with pride. We continue to develop partnerships with local media, other schools, OHIOLinks, and the Library of Congress to further expand our link with other veterans’ libraries. Since current veteran issues are unreported and our outreach to veterans in need is limited, we strive to be the best practice for veterans’ organizations, other high schools, or college media programs to emulate.

Our next assignments are to begin capturing veterans’ oral histories via video conferencing and beginning a 24/7 TV stream, The Warrior Wave. Video conferencing has eliminated our time and space obstacles in interviewing veterans. Although our mobile unit has been great in outreach to willing veterans, it is very expensive in long hauls. We are hoping to find a spot for it in/near our park and use it locally only. The use of video conferences will increase our library exponentially. Further, there are 1700 cable/streaming channels, and not one is dedicated to a veteran-centered information channel. We plan to get Warrior Wave up and running and show oral histories, live shots of parks, VA information, and current events/information. We produce videos for organizations like the VFW, American Legion, Gold Star families, DAV, the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, and MOPH. We would also invite relevant organizations like Save A Warrior to participate. We have the content and need for a veterans’ channel. We just need a channel. The high school students will run the stream and give them practical exercises on running a channel. We are reviewing options now, but we would love to hear from anyone who could help us with this.

Thanks to the phenomenal sponsors and the collective actions of our Park founders–this is all possible. Please continue or begin your support of us in some way. Our mission gives veterans and their organizations a voice on social media platforms, enhances their outreach for new members, teaches digital literacy, and enables coordination among the organizations. We produce an annual live talent show on/near Veteran’s Day as our only source of fundraising. The Sound of Music 9 Talent Show is scheduled to film live from VFW Post 5018 Free Pike in Dayton, Ohio, on November 11, 2023. Please visit us on our Facebook/YouTube channel at Veterans Memorial Park and Digital Library.

Yours in Comradeship

Michael Maloney Chair, VMPDL