Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
Kalona area man collecting veterans’ stories
KALONA — Staff of a local video production company spent May 19 and 20 in interviews with a handful of veterans from the Kalona and Wellman area, gathering footage for a project they plan to debut around the Fourth of July.
Storyline Multimedia Founder John Choate said his business was not being paid for the work. Instead, it’s a freewill effort to document the subjects’ experience for future generations.
“My grandpa passed away, sort of unexpectedly,” Choate said. “He served in the Korean War. And as a filmmaker, I always wanted to kind of capture his experience on video. It’s one of those things where I just never got around to doing that, and pretty soon it became too late.”
The package Choate is now preparing is an effort to prevent a similar situation for the descendants of other service members.
The plan is to mix the footage into a 20-minute, documentary-style compilation for public screening. Each interviewee, however, also will receive an uncut recording of their own session to share with friends and family members as they see fit.
“Family legacy is important,” Choate said. “Video is just such a great tool because it enables us to sort of make a time capsule … there’s so many people within our community that served, and gave their life for our freedom, and a lot of them are very humble about it. You wouldn’t know, bumping into them. So it’s kind of shining a light on the heroes of our community.”
Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said he and Wellman municipal officials had pushed to promote the project before interviews began.
“I think it’s wonderful, and it was a neat collaboration,” he said. “John and his group have the ability to do something special here. They have a very good skill set, so I think it’ll be very professionally done and something the community and those participating can be very proud of.”
The completed video will debut in Richmond on July 3 and the Wellman YMCA on July 4, before each respective community’s fireworks display.