An educational program for seniors seeks someone to help capture snippets of history.
This fall, New Frontiers for Learning in Retirement will run weekly sessions featuring veteran aviators from World War II and the Korean War. The pilots will describe adventures and memories from their service.
Mesa resident and Korean War veteran Jack Whitmire came up with the idea and recruited four former pilots: Bill Yoakley of Mesa, a pilot in the Korean War; Betty Blake of Scottsdale, a member of the first Women Air Force Service Pilots who flew planes and bombers to locations across the United States; Mel Derry of Scottsdale, who flew missions in World War II; and Bill Morrison of Scottsdale, a Korean War pilot.
With war veterans aging and dying, their stories need to be told before it’s too late, Whitmire said.
"Once these stories are gone, they’re gone," Whitmire said. "They show people the way it was and how much they put in for their country."
A videographer is needed to record each of these presentations for submission to the Library of Congress as part of the Veterans History Project.
"We will furnish the tapes, but we don’t have anyone who has the skill or equipment to do this," said Kathy Krecek, curriculum chairwoman for New Frontiers.
Sponsored by Mesa Community College, New Frontiers offers enrichment classes catering to retirees from professional and technical fields. The organization will hold an open house Sept. 24 to register for upcoming peer-led classes.
"It’s an opportunity for retired and older adults to continue their education," said Krecek, a Gilbert resident. "It’s good intellectual stimulation."
The pilots’ discussions will run 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays starting Oct. 6 at the Mesa Police Department’s east Mesa branch, 2430 S. Ellsworth Road.
To learn more, visit www.newfrontiers-mesa.org or call (480) 545-5401.