I would like to dedicate Larry Martin’s World War II in Their Own Words program to a former Army Air Corps B-17 pilot named Chuck Cooke who cared so passionately about my programs that he helped me get started with equipment and other assistance as well as a general positive attitude about the program. The man who actually got me thinking about showing my interviews is a WW II Marine who fought at Iwo Jima Mr. Gene Yehl.
I did a interview with Gene in 2006 when I had not even thought of showing any of them to the public. Gene thought it would be a good idea to share these memories that so many WW II Veterans had shared with me. I had about 25 interviews on DVD at the time, I now have over 75 that I have permission of the Veterans to sell so that we can keep this history alive. I wanted to keep this history alive so people could hear some of the sacrifices that the fighting men of WW II went through to give us the FREEDOMS and physical SAFETY that some of us take for granted. OUR FREEDOM DID NOT COME FREE!!. A Veteran gave all of them to us.
Gene has never missed any of my WW II programs. He has told his story twice for me, once at Napoleon H.S. and another time at one of the 17 Jackson District Library programs that have been put on over the last four years.The First United Methodist Church, with permission from Rev. Ed Ross and the congregation, donated the use of their conference room for the showing of the WW II programs in conjunction with the Jackson District Library. JDL and the First United Methodist Church have meant so much to this WW II oral history program and to me personally. Unfortunately we lost Chuck Cooke in 2010 and he is missed by all of us who had the privilege of knowing him and his ever smiling face.