“So, what would be your role in this initiative? First, I hope that you would enthusiastically take this opportunity to help a veteran to “tell their story.” Every veteran has a unique story to tell. If they don’t tell their story, it never happened. That seems to be a wasted opportunity, not only for the veteran, but likely also for their family as well.
“How many of us wish that we had taken the opportunity to discuss the military experiences of our relatives while they were still with us? This effort takes a step in the right direction to make sure that families don’t have to wonder what their veteran did while serving their country.”
“It was said about great soldiers, such as Generals Patton or Eisenhower, that if their story was not told and recorded, that when they die it would be like burning down a library. Each veteran’s story recorded will not be a library, but will be an honored book that must be preserved.
“We all served with honor and dedication. We had no expectations but to serve our country where duty called us. We asked for no reward except a nation’s thanks, and you can contribute to that through the Oklahoma Veterans Film Competition.”
About Bob Ford: A key sponsor of the Film Competition effort, Bob was born August 4, 1944, and was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. He was a combat helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War from July 1967 – July 1968, and engaged in more than 1000 combat missions including during the siege of Khe Sahn and later the Tet Offensive of 1968. Ford served as the detachment commander of the MACV compound at Hue which held the distinction as the farthest-most northern helicopter unit in the Vietnam War. All his combat flying was as a 1st Lieutenant, and he was promoted to Captain one week before returning home at the end of his tour. Ford then served as an instructor pilot at Ft Wolters, TX, during his last year of active duty.
A Shawnee native, Bob is vice chairman of the Shawnee Milling Company. He lives and manages their flour mill in Okeene, OK.
Captain Ford was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame and received the Maj. Gen. Douglas O. Dollar Distinguished Public Service Award for service to communities and veterans. He is in active partnership with the Oklahoma History Center, continuing to tell the narrative of service and sacrifice made by so many in the war.
“What we have learned from earlier Oklahoma Honors Campaign efforts is that the children of military veterans invariably say ‘Dad (or Mom, etc.) never talked about his/her time in the military.’ Then what we invariably hear from the veteran is ‘The kids were not interested in my military service.’
“But, when family members would hear that students were interviewing their veteran about his or her time in the military, they would insist on seeing the film, and it would begin a long-over-due conversation within the family about their family’s history, and service in our nation’s military.
“By participating in the Oklahoma Veterans Film Competition, you can not only educate the public about what it means to serve in one of our armed services, you can also perform a great service to a family, which they will always be grateful to you for!”