Veterans share stories about their service

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To be used for digital archives at library

KING CITY — Six Monterey County veterans were interviewed April 14 at the King City Library as part of an oral history process with Story Center, a 25-year-old organization that has been bringing digital story telling to libraries.

Joe Lambert, founder and director of Story Center, said the process includes movie making for citizens that has been used for schools, public health clinics and more groups all over the world.

“This project came to us through Greg Lucas, who is the State Librarian for California,” Lambert said. “He had received some federal money to do a project to encourage libraries to digitalize their archives.”

Lucas worked for the Sacramento Bee and had an interest in people’s stories before coming to Story Center, where he asked if it was possible for him to go around California and put on workshops at libraries.

“We did 12 libraries last summer and we’ll do 12 this year,” Lambert said.

In order to digitize the veterans’ stories, called “Veterans Voices,” a listening center was invented.

The listening center is a stand that connects to a video recording device and was given to libraries throughout California.

The “Veterans Voices” interviews are the first of its kind for the King City Library and the Monterey County Free Library system.

The process included interviewing King City resident Paul Arness, Pine Canyon resident Leon Bednar as well as William Nannie.

Arness is a veteran from World War II, while Bednar fought in the Vietnam War and is a past post commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Nannie is a peer mentor for the Veterans Justice Program.

“We hope to continue this process after today,” said Managing Librarian Berenice Astengo. “We started off with only eight time slots, and other people who couldn’t make it today said they’d like to tell their story, so we hope to set up other times and maybe even at other libraries.”

According to Astengo, the Seaside Library branch is also interested in becoming part of the “Veterans Voices” program.

After the interviews are edited, the Monterey County Free Libraries will have access to digital copies and plan to post them on its Facebook page.

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