By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Southborough – Local cable television station Southborough Access Media (SAM) is set to air its most ambitious video project since forming as a nonprofit programming organization. An approximately 30-minute documentary titled “Southborough Veterans: Local Life Lessons” features interviews with nine military veterans conducted by its producer Terry Newman.
“They’re heroes that quietly continue to do more for their community in many ways,” she explained. “All have personal stories and observations on leadership skills that they learned in the service. They transferred those skills to help the community in Southborough.”
The nine interviewees include one Navy and eight Army veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. One fought in the Battle of the Bulge, two in Japan, one is a West Point graduate, and another currently serves for the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Among them are a Purple Heart and three Bronze Star recipients.
Featured in the documentary are Arthur Butler Jr., Selectman Paul Cimino, Mel Kizner, Selectman Dan Kolenda, Ray Minnucci, Christopher Robbins, Earle Watkins, Veterans Graves Officer and VFW Post 3276 Commander Steve Whynot, and Veterans Agent and American Legion Post 161 Commander John Wilson.
Newman knew some of them through her local news coverage, but in some cases was unaware of their military background. She was introduced to some by Veterans Agent Wilson and met others while covering events at the Southborough Senior Center. Although they served during different war eras, these veterans share similarities and a special comradery, Newman noted.
“They learned practical and people skills in the military,” she said. “I started to wonder how they brought that back stateside. I see a unique bond among them. There’s a loyalty and a commitment. When they say ‘yes’ to something, they do it. Many of them I’ll see stand up and speak at public meetings. They’re able to bring a room of people together in a very thoughtful, authoritative way and help everyone make a decision. You have to respect somebody who can do that with grace and authority.”
These interactions between local veterans and Newman began in the fall of 2014. She discussed her idea about documenting their stories with Katelyn Willis, SAM executive director. Willis knew of grants available from the Southborough Community Fund. SAM was awarded a grant to help support the video project.
After completing one-one-one interviews with Newman, the veterans were invited to a luncheon last spring at the senior center. It was funded by the Friends of the Southborough Council on Aging and catered by culinary arts students of Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough. Soon, that unique bond prompted reminiscences such as P-38 and P-51 can openers, which were issued in the canned field rations of the armed forces.
Newman is pleased that their stories have been documented for current and future generations.
“I’ve been working on this project for a little over a year, but they gave up varied periods of time in their lives for the bigger and greater good for us,” she said. “It’s important to preserve their historical value.”
SAM will air “Southborough Veterans: Local Life Lessons” on Charter channel 91 and Verizon channel 38 daily from Monday, Jan. 11, through Monday, Feb. 29. The weekly schedule is Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 a.m.; Saturdays at 6 p.m.; and Sundays at 10 a.m.
The documentary will also be available on YouTube beginning Tuesday, Jan. 19. Additionally, SAM will distribute it to schools, libraries and organizations upon request.