The following is a guest blog post by Anita Deason, who serves as the military veteran liaison in the office of Sen. John Boozman (AR). One of Deason’s duties is to teach volunteers how to participate with the Veterans History Project (VHP). To date, she and her team have trained more than 500 Arkansans.
I enjoy spreading the word about the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, and I celebrate each and every veteran and volunteer who come together to preserve an important piece of history for future generations. You might imagine that when I realized Jeff Meek, a volunteer from Hot Springs Village, AR, recently completed his 350th interview for VHP, I was absolutely delighted. This was no small feat, and he deserves this special, public acknowledgment.
Meek’s efforts began in January 2007, several years before I learned of VHP, when he made it his mission to interview as many World War II veterans as he could. In 2011, he put 75 of those stories into an inspiring book, They Answered the Call: World War II Veterans Share Their Stories.
Since then, Meek has expanded the interviewing to include veterans of the Korean War, Vietnam War, Afghan War and Iraq War, as well as interviews with veterans who served during the inter-war years. “All veterans, regardless of when they served, did their duty and they all deserve recognition,” Meek has said.
His 350th interview was with George Hardy, a World War II pilot with the 332nd Fighter Squadron, known as the “Red Tails.” Hardy went on to serve with distinction in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Meek’s wife Jeanne shares his interest in veterans, and assists him by handling the administrative part of the VHP process, like shipping the interviews and required forms to VHP. She graciously plays a very vital role in her husband’s work. The associated organization with the Meeks is the Hot Springs Village Arkansa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. You can access records for all their interviews that have been fully processed so far here.
Congratulations Jeff and Jeanne Meek for your years of devoted service to recognizing our nation’s military veterans. I am looking forward to celebrating the next milestone, but for now, kudos for reaching 350!