Friday, October 17, 2003

Veterans tell stories for posterity

By Anna Guido
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Nancy Bisbe, Mariemont Junior High School librarian, tapes Korean War veteran Ralph Heffner of Fairfax at the school.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
MARIEMONT - Ralph Heffner's Army days weren't "spectacular," but they were noteworthy enough to be retold on video and archived in the Library of Congress.

The 70-year-old Korean War corporal from Fairfax shared his war stories this week with Mariemont Junior High School librarian Nancy Bisbe for inclusion in the national Veterans History Project.

Mariemont is the only school in the Cincinnati area and one of just three schools in Ohio participating in the project.

"When I got there, the cease-fire was in place, so what I did was more or less routine, day-to-day training," Heffner said of his arrival in Korea in January 1954. "I drove truck, hauled troops and picked up supplies. But my stories ought to give some common insight into the personal aspect of what a soldier goes through."

Heffner is one of 27 veterans Bisbe has interviewed and videotaped for the Veterans History Project, which was created by Congress in 2000 as a way to collect and preserve the stories of veterans such as Heffner.

"We want to preserve as many of these stories as possible, and for as long as possible, by putting them in the Library of Congress," project assistant Tim Roberts said.

The Veterans History Project has interviewed about 10,000 veterans from major wars in the 20th century; there are 19 million veterans living in the United States.

Roberts said anyone can participate.

"Any individual can just sit down and interview their grandfather and send it in to us," he said.

Bisbe got started in April.

"It's so rewarding," she said. "I can't extol the virtues of the program enough because it's just been so wonderful."

Bisbe learned about the project at a seminar hosted by the Mary L. Cook Public Library in Waynesville, another local participant.

Bisbe applied to the Library of Congress to be accepted as an official partner, then began her search for veterans in Fairfax, Mariemont and Terrace Park.

"I spoke to our local Kiwanis and got some names and the rest is, literally, history," she said.

The first four interviews are expected to be posted within several months on the school district Web site and on the Library of Congress Web site.

Bisbe eventually wants to make it an ongoing school project involving high school students and teachers. She wants other schools and community organizations to do the same.

"This is our way of honoring these people in our community - for doing these wonderful things for our country," she said.

Veterans interested in participating in the Mariemont school project should call Bisbe at 272-7300.


Photo gallery
River place for slaves to escape
Bluesy Hammond eager to play Tall Stacks gig
Travelers bringing homes along
Players earn their boat ride
Show off your photo
Forget fund-raising; groups 'friend-raising'
How to pick the best party boat
Spirit, Colonel are victors in Stacks' first boat race
Hamilton County's bell made, rung during festival
Whistle Grove always delights
Daily schedule

Charges filed in boat hit-skip
Third plea deal in flipping
Ohio videoslots no sure bet

Supply of blood at very low level here
Ex-CEO at Scripps joins Xavier business school
Police look for girl, 14, as Short Vine attacker
In Green, growth is issue of the day
Volunteer groups urged on
Regional Report

Crowley: View from N. Ky. hills entices home buyers
Downs: Halloween groaners will shake you up
Howard: Good Things Happening

Flooding focus of Fairfield hopefuls
Support grows for Liberty connector
Removal of lead from yards starts next week
Oxford school mourns another
Her goal: Improve schools
Veterans tell stories for posterity

Tony Marquez was chief of surgery at Mercy-West
Kentucky obituaries

Utilities get no-blackout tips
Buckeye Egg likely to appeal state order
Officials fatal fire investigation
Ohio Moments

Jury wants 10 years for man who shook child
Hebron recalls glory of '83
Constable charged with misconduct
Chandler courts minority voters
Chandler's attack ad answered by Fletcher as 'mudslinging'
Land mine kills Radcliff native in Iraq
Principal denies he assaulted his son
Assessor candidate admits violations
Bond denied for Knott Co. men convicted of vote fraud
Kentucky to do
Kentucky News Briefs