A few weeks ago, I announced our new project, known as “They Served With Honor,” a 10-part series honoring veterans.
We got an excellent response from the public, and many good suggestions from the readers and from people who work with veterans.
We start that project this Sunday, with a profile of Vietnam veteran and Napa native Chris Rubio, who not only has a dramatic war and post-war experience, but also happens to be quite a colorful character. I only wish we had more space to share his recollections and photos, both of the war and of the rollicking era of life in Napa in the 1960s and ‘70s.
We have a couple of other veterans lined up to interview so far, including a nurse from World War II and a Marine aviator from the Gulf War, but we haven’t picked all 10 people we plan to profile between now and September. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
A couple of things to consider, however, when sending us an idea or understanding who we picked and why.
First, as a practical matter, we need to talk to living veterans. We had several excellent suggestions for profiles of service members who had died, but the complexity of trying to write a profile based on the testimony of others, without talking with the person him or herself, is beyond our available time for such an ambitious project. We might eventually try to do some of these stories, but we just don’t have time to include them in a project that features one story per week for 10 weeks.
Second, we also need to talk to people who are out of the active-duty military already. We had a bunch of suggestions for active duty personnel (particularly from proud parents), but it turns out that such service members can be hard to contact since they’re often abroad. Also, active duty personnel tend to be unable to talk about their current assignments in detail (sometimes not at all), and such interviews would likely need to involve PR people from the Pentagon. Again, the time and complexity of such stories is just beyond our resources for this project.
If you do have news of your active duty relatives, such as promotions, honors, or other milestones, send us a brief item and we’ll include it in our weekly digest of local news on our Sunday features section.
Finally, we need to talk to people who live in Napa County. Several people suggested former Napans now living elsewhere. We do occasionally write about people like that, but in this case, given the speed with which we’re trying to produce these stories (I’ll probably be writing most or all of them myself), we need to have quick access to the person for interviews, photos, and to collect memorabilia.
So if you have a suggestion for a veteran living in Napa County (including yourself), please feel free to email me. We need to finalize our lineup by the middle of August.
And remember, if you send in a suggestion and we don’t end up profiling that person, don’t feel left out. We’ll probably keep doing these stories occasionally if they prove to be as popular with readers as we expect.