An important calling has taken two women all over the world. The pandemic threatened to stop that work, and there was already no time to waste. It's a story of telling history in historic times.
"They're genuinely honored when a young person is interested in their story," said Elizabeth Suter, sitting on a back porch with Tracie Hunter.
Elizabeth and Tracie are filmmakers with their non-profit, Beyond the Call.
"We've interviewed over twenty veterans" said Elizabeth.
"We use their stories as short documentaries," said Tracie. "These have been used in schools and museums."
"It's purely to document their stories, because we're losing them every day," said Elizabeth.
Among those interviewed is Charlie Kohler, a World War II veteran, now 99-years-old.
"Charlie and his brother Eddie were in Iwo Jima together," said Tracie. "Charlie made it home and his brother did not. Even though he has a hard time talking about those things all those years ago, he knows the importance of it and wants to share."
With the coronavirus, the women knew they wouldn't be able to travel and visit vets like Charlie. The vets' health would just be too at risk.
Then, the woman came up with a plan.
"Charlie, so good to see you!" said Tracie, opening her laptop and talking to Charlie.
Using Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime, Elizabeth and Tracie are still recording histories of vets like Charlie. They're vets with an incredible perspective, having lived through the uncertain times of World War II and this pandemic.
"What would you say to encourage people now to stay hopeful?" Tracie asked Charlie.
"You've got to be a strong person mentally," said Charlie. "Physically too. Do everything that you have to do well. You're there for a better day. That is the whole thing."
"We can still preserve the history," said Tracie. "We love them so much. This work is so important, but it's the people behind the stories that matter so much to us."
Beyond the Call can be reached at https://www.wwiibeyondthecall.com/wwii-veterans. The site allows for donations for Elizabeth and Tracie's continued work. You can also tell them about WWII veterans you know.