By Jill Parker Landsman
Recognizing our veterans’ service to our nation is a priority to court reporters who are passionate about giving back. Boy Scouts want to give back, too.
Combine the desire to give back between court reporters and a focused Eagle Scout candidate and great things happen. That occurred between NCRA member Phoebe Moorhead, other Utah court reporters, and Eagle Scout candidate Eli Brown.
“We all have stories to tell, most especially our veterans,” said NCRA Interim Executive Director Dave Wenhold. “Our Foundation participates in the Veterans History Project, so that we can allow others to learn and understand the difficult journey that our veterans experienced. We treasure experiences and the work that Phoebe, her team, and Eli have done.”
Raised by parents who are deaf, NCRA member Phoebe Moorhead, RPR, CRR, has served in various leadership positions during her freelance court reporting career. Excited about being a part of the Veterans History Project, she spearheaded the summer transcriptions of 20 veteran stories.
“I first learned of the Veterans History Project when Debbie Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, current NCRA Vice President, reached out to Utah reporters and asked for volunteers to attend the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) conference in Salt Lake City. [We were to] transcribe the interviews of our deaf and hard-of-hearing veterans,” Moorhead said. “I had the privilege of providing CART during the interview for the veteran, who happened to be the HLAA president.”
Researching the right Eagle Scout project was daunting for Utah Boy Scout Eli Brown, as he wasn’t finding an idea he liked. His search took place while his school planned its annual Veteran’s Day assembly, he explained. “During the assembly, every veteran present was given the chance to introduce him or herself,” Brown said. “Hearing about their sacrifices, I knew I had to help preserve their stories. This was the inspiration behind my project.”
Thanks to the resourcefulness of Eli’s stepfather, Eli was soon in touch with a support team to help achieve his Eagle Scout goals of recording veterans’ oral histories.
Brown said: “My stepdad, Richard Carman, told me about the Veterans History Project. He suggested that I contact NCRF and ask if there was anyone interested in collaborating. I sent NCRF an email through the ‘contact us’ link on the Utah [Court Reporters Association] website. Up until this point, I hadn’t had a lot of success recruiting help for my project, so when Mrs. Moorhead replied within a few hours, with an excited ‘Yes!’ I knew I was on the right track!”
[Ed. Note: Richard Carman is one of the founders of RealtimeCoach.]
The scout, veterans, and court reporters met at a Veterans of Foreign Wars monthly meeting that took place at a restaurant during the summer. Moorhead’s court reporter team proudly stepped up to transcribe oral histories in person and worked on recorded ones after the event.
One oral history version was a standout, she explained: “What a privilege and honor to listen to and transcribe the interviews of the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country,” she said. “As part of this project, Eli interviewed my husband, who served in the Marine Corps. I’ve never been able to properly convey my gratitude for my husband’s service until now. Signing my name at the end of the transcript of his interview and submitting it to the Library of Congress for preservation until the end of time was the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Capturing the historical essence of the Veterans Oral History project was important to Brown.
“Through this experience, I learned that there is more to people than meets the eye,” he said.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to interview an old family friend. I had known him for some 10-plus years, but I had no idea of the horrors he went through while he was serving our country. If I hadn’t interviewed him, I might never have known what he went through.”
NCRA members have been listening and taking down veterans’ stories since NCRF partnered with the Library of Congress in 2003 to have court reporters transcribe veterans’ stories from their collection of now more than 100,000.
Jill Parker Landsman is the National Court Reporters Foundation Manager. For more information about the Veterans History Project, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-584-9052.