December 22, 2014

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Documentary planned to feature local veterans

Sixty-nine years ago today while serving as an Army sergeant in Germany during World War II, Art Goodman got bad news.

Fellow soldier George Gorman, an 18-year-old from Seward, Pa., had been fatally shot while on patrol.

Goodman and Gorman were replacement soldiers who had both joined their unit at the same time and had quickly become close friends. “It’s like a dream,” Goodman said of the war Wednesday after an organizational meeting in Lorain about creating a documentary film about Lorain County veterans.

Compelling stories like Goodman’s are the goal of “Legacy of Valor.” The 30-minute film is being made by Sandusky-based Stein Hospice in conjunction with the Lorain Veterans Council. Organizers hope to debut the film on Memorial Day at the Lorain Palace Theater and plan to feature veterans from World War II through the Afghanistan War.

“We want a great quality picture that years from now kids can watch in school and say, ‘That was my grandfather,’” said Sam Felton, a Vietnam War veteran and commander of the Disabled American Veterans Post 20 in Lorain. “We want to have something that grips somebody.”

The goal of the film is to feature veterans’ oral histories interspersed with photos, video and statistics about the wars the veterans fought. Independent filmmaker Tom Whaley, who will produce the film, said full interviews can be used for future projects, but it’s important to limit the movie to 30 minutes.

“No matter how good it is, you want people wanting more,” he said. “Thirty minutes is the perfect length.”

Felton said he and fellow Vietnam veteran Don Attie came up with the idea for a film after seeing a documentary about the Honor Flight Network, a group that flies World War II veterans to the World War II memorial in Washington D.C.

Jan Bucholz, Stein Hospice CEO, also was impressed with Honor Flight, according to Cara Turner, Stein community relations coordinator.

Bucholz’s father is a World War II veteran who took who went on one of the flights. “She saw the importance of capturing the stories of these veterans,” Turner said.

Organizers said they want to move fast, noting that World War II and Korean War veterans are elderly while most Vietnam veterans are in their 60s.

“Hurry up fellas,” said Goodman, 87. “I don’t have much time.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.