What an amazing experience I had with my dad and grandpa last Wednesday. They participated in the Veterans History Project (VHP) which collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
My grandpa, James P Donegan served in the Navy in WWII and my dad, Rick Malivuk, served in the Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star for his heroic achievement and heroic service in a combat zone. As most of you already know, since I was a kid my heroes and role models have always been my parents and grandparents. All my school papers were about them and all my life decisions have been about living up to the standards they created. It’s why my dad was the Pastor who presided over my marriage and why my grandpa was my Best Man and my first ‘partner’ in business. It’s also why my wife joked that my umbilical cord never stretched more than five miles from my mom.
The Veterans History Project in partnership with Empath Health and The Veterans Art Center of Tampa Bay hosted an interview day where they interviewed 9 Combat Vets. These were 30-minute, video interviews that will forever be archived in the Library of Congress. The person who interviewed them was a Navy vet of over 20 years and he did an amazing job. Although I’ve heard some of the stories told that day, this process uncovered some powerful, and sometimes funny, stories that I’ve never heard. And now they are preserved so my great grandkids will hear them and understand the great men that made our lives possible.
Channel 10 News was at the event and interviewed my grandpa before his VHP interview. Below is a link to that interview. I strongly urge you to reach out to me if you know of a combat Vet so we can preserve their stories.