Illinois Veteran’s Home- Manteno

A couple of months ago BJ’s wife, Nancy, presented us with a fantastic photography project idea- The Veteran’s Project.

Reminiscent of Richard Avedon’s revealing style of celebrity photography, we would make emotional portraits of military veterans while documenting their wisdom and incredible journeys. BJ immediately explained the project to his photojournalism class at Olivet, who enthusiastically came on board. The project then quickly snowballed to include Dr. McLaughlin’s Multimedia Storytelling class, ROTC, and the university’s marketing department.

We made connections with the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Manteno, who was more than willing to become a part.

It’s all come together beautifully and this week, we’ve spent time with numerous veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, etc. learning of their journeys both militarily and civilian. We’ve made personal connections with these incredible individuals. Full of life, they approach each day with joy and passion having experienced so many different eras of time.

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So often we take life and people for granted. It’s unreal the things you can learn by simply putting away your smartphone and listening to the knowledge of those who have paved the way before you. I challenge everyone to reach out to a grandparent, parent, great aunt, whoever… and just listen. Listen to their passions and their memories. Heed their advice and cherish their time.

The project still has a week to go, and everyone is thrilled to show off the final project. Standby to see the results!

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