The award winning documentary "Shepherds of Helmund" told the story of a small group of Oregon National Guard soldiers deployed to Helmund province in Afghanistan. After working on the project together, filmmaker Gary Mortensen and Master Sergeant Mark Browning realized they had a bigger project ahead of them. The movie they just finished gave a platform to tell a unique story through the eyes of the soldiers involved. The problem was, it took too long to make and every veteran of every war had a unique story to tell.
Veterans' Legacies is an attempt to give every living veteran the opportunity to share their story. By uploading the stories of each veteran onto veteranslegacies.com, Mark and Gary will share, for free, a lifetime of stories that they believe have already been bought and paid for. While the task is noble, the work is monumental, which is why they have developed a curriculum they hope to roll out around the country.
Their pilot program is at Yamhill Carlton High School where students, through an elective class, take the time to find living veterans and interview them. The project is currently focused on WWII vets as they are dying at the rate of nearly 500 per day.