Columbia State Collects Veteran Stories, Adds Stories to Library of Congress Database

Columbia State students, faculty and staff at VHP event
Photo Caption: (Pictured, left to right): David Donnelly, U.S. veteran and Columbia State Student Veterans Organization president; Dr. Christa Martin, Columbia State assistant to the president for access and diversity; Corey Cummings, U.S. veteran and Student Veterans Organization secretary; Dr. Ginny Massey-Holt, U.S. veteran and Columbia State Student Veterans Organization adviser and associate professor of nursing; and Diane Davis, Columbia State secretary/clerk for access and diversity.

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – May 3, 2019) - - -The Columbia State Community College Student Veterans Organization, in collaboration with the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, recently hosted an event where they collected more than 20 hours of stories of service from more than 25 U.S. military veterans.  

The Veterans History Project is an archive at the Library of Congress that preserves narratives of veterans’ service through oral history interviews and documents such as photographs, letters, journals, and diaries created while in the military, so that researchers and future generations can access these firsthand accounts and better understand their selfless service.

“This project benefits everyone,” said Corey Cummings, U.S. veteran and Columbia State SVO secretary. “These stories will have an impact in different ways for many generations to come. The SVO enjoyed getting to work with the Library of Congress on this project.”

 The Columbia State SVO aims to provide camaraderie, a sense of belonging and leadership opportunities to any student that has served or is currently serving in the military. The SVO is open to all students, regardless of current or past affiliation with any military branch.

“Hosting the Veterans History Project story collection at Columbia State provided an opportunity for multiple local stakeholders to come together and preserve the legacy of our area veterans,” said Dr. Ginny Massey-Holt, Columbia State Student Veterans Organization adviser, U.S. veteran and associate professor of nursing. “Executing this event was made possible by a collaborative effort between Columbia State, the community and national organizations.” 

Columbia State involvement included the SVO, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Foundation, media services department, Office of Adult Learners, Dr. Thomas Flagel, associate professor of history, and the history department. Community partners included Columbia Central High School Beta Club and several local chapters of veterans organizations: Vets2Vets, American Legion Post 19, Disabled Veterans of America, Marine Corp League and Maury County Veteran Service officers. National involvement included the American Legion and the Library of Congress.

“It’s always exciting to come to these events and see history being recorded, but this one was particularly special,” said Andrew Huber, Veterans History Project liaison specialist. “The incredible efforts of Columbia State through their SVO, student volunteers, faculty and staff really shined through, and the strong support from the community was inspiring. This event was a model example for how oral histories should be collected.”

VHP Event
Photo Caption: (Pictured, left to right): David Donnelly, U.S. veteran and Student  Veterans Organization president; Andrew Huber, Veterans History Project liaison specialist; Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president; and Corey Cummings, U.S. veteran and Student Veterans Organization secretary.

These documents and interviews collected will become part of the permanent collections of the Library of Congress and will be made available to researchers and the general public via the American Folklife Center Reading Room and the VHP website. For more information about the Veterans History Project, visit https://www.loc.gov/vets/.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

To learn more about Columbia State veterans and military family services, visit www.ColumbiaState.edu/Veterans.

Diane Burgess
Photo Caption: Diane Burgess, American Legion Post 19 sergeant at arms and Disabled American Veterans chaplain and treasurer, shared her experiences. 

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