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StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative comes to Mizzou


Debbie Johnson
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9183

Published: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013

Story source:

Lee Ann Woolery, 573-884-9025

"Extension on the Go" podcast by Debbie Johnson. Episode 76: StoryCorps Comes to Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Soldiers have war stories. Military families have stories too, and that’s often overlooked. University of Missouri Extension is teaming up with the StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative to give a voice to post-9/11 military service members and their families.

“I found a lot of people on campus that were interested in using the arts as an engagement process with our student veterans and military active service members on campus,” said Lee Ann Woolery, director of the MU Extension Community Arts program.

Woolery and Lisa Higgins, director of Missouri Folk Arts Program, learned that StoryCorps was interested in visiting university campuses around the country. They arranged for StoryCorps to come to the Columbia campus to record military stories.

StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative is a national oral history project honoring post-9/11 veterans, active-duty service members and military families by recording and preserving the diverse stories of Americans. StoryCorps staff travel around the country, giving people the opportunity to share their stories.

Woolery said the date for the StoryCorps visit was chosen to coincide with MU Chancellor Brady Deaton’s Patriot Day BBQ on Sept. 11.

“Sept. 11 is a day we all should remember and support our military for what they have done and for the freedom that they bring to our lives,” Woolery said.

StoryCorps will be at KBIA-FM Sept. 11-13.

“They’re going to interview 18 different people, six a day for three days,” said Michael Dunn, general manager for KBIA. The station is promoting the event and inviting post-9/11 veterans, activate-duty personnel and their families to volunteer to tell their stories.

Many forms of art rely on collaboration. Woolery says the StoryCorps Military Voices event at Mizzou is collaboration at it finest.

“We have an amazing group. The University of Missouri, the MU Student Veterans Center, MU Extension Community Arts Project, KBIA-FM, the Missouri Folk Arts Program, Mizzou Advantage and StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative have joined forces to make this three-day event possible,” Woolery said.

Carol Fleisher, director of the MU Veterans Center, said she was excited to participate in this project because military families have stories to share.

“It can be challenging. As soon as your active duty member walks out the door, the car breaks down, the electrical things go out in the house, children get sick or you get sick,” Fleisher said. “I think is a good opportunity for people to share the military life.”

Each recording-session participant will decide whether to share their story or keep it private. Those willing to share will have their audio archived at the Library of Congress, preserving it for future generations.

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