A Guide to Hosting a Veterans History Project (VHP) Day

Planning

  • Consider forming a committee, and assign tasks to various members.
  • Select a date and time for the Veterans History Project (VHP) Day, and begin planning months in advance.
  • You need three categories of participants: veterans, interviewers, and transcribers (certified court reporters).
  • Reserve an adequately sized, quiet room(s) to hold the interviews.
  • Consider the audiovisual (A/V) equipment needs for the interviews.
  • Create a marketing plan.
  • Decide who will be responsible for returning the completed packets to the National Court Reporters Foundation (the court reporter or the event organizer?). These packets include the transcripts, audio files, required VHP forms from the Library of Congress Field Kit, etc. Make everyone knows who that person is in advance.
  • Plan refreshments (optional).
  • Plan a ceremony for participating veterans (optional).
  • Liaise with the National Court Reporters Foundation for VHP materials and and Transcript Formatting Guidelines from the Library of Congress.

Print materials

Print VHP Field Kits. Email an attachment or the link (http://www.loc.gov/vets/pdf/fieldkit-2013.pdf) to participants in advance.

Create a schedule with time slots for interviews

Sample schedule

8:45–9:15 a.m.: arrival – set out refreshments (optional)

9:30–10:30 a.m.: conduct interviews

10:45–11:45 a.m.: conduct interviews

12–1:15 p.m.: lunch break

1:30–2:30 p.m.: conduct interviews

2:45–3:45 p.m.: conduct interviews

4 p.m.: closing ceremony (optional)

Court reporters

Contact your state’s court reporters association to help recruit professional court reporters to transcribe veterans’ stories during the VHP Day. Recruit one or two more than you think you will need in case some volunteers cancel at the last minute. Professional court reporters can earn 0.25 PDC from NCRA for every transcription they complete for the VHP. Reporters can earn credit for a maximum of four transcriptions (1.0 PDC) within a three-year certification period.

Very important: All transcribers must complete a Gratuitous Service Agreement (pages 12 and 13 of the Library’s guidelines) for each interview they transcribe, or the Library of Congress will not accept the material.

Interviewers

Line up court reporters and interviewers. The veteran may bring a family member or friend, who may be able to conduct a more personal interview. Please refer to the VHP Field Kit for suggested questions. The interviewer must complete the required Interviewer’s Release Form.

Veterans

  • Designate one person to correspond with the veterans.
  • Set an RSVP date for all participants (one month in advance).
  • Contact veterans.
  • Limit the number of veterans to 15-20. Create a waiting list for a future event if you have limited resources.
  • Send or email VHP Field Kits to participating veterans. The veterans need to sign the forms and releases.
  • Each veteran should read and sign all required forms and releases before the VHP Day. Give each veteran's forms to the designated person.
  • All required forms and releases must be turned in to the pre-designated individual (the court reporter or the event organizer):
  • Veterans may bring pictures or diaries they kept during their combat service to add to their transcript. These items will become part of the Library’s permanent collection and cannot be returned. The veteran will need to complete additional forms from the Field Kit (including the Photo Log and Manuscript Data Sheet).
  • Ask the veteran if he or she is a member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Note this on their Biographical Data Form.

Marketing plan

  • Distribute flyers to local businesses about the VHP Day.
  • Issue a press release to local television stations and newspapers.
  • Send invitations to local VIP’s, such as your Congressional representatives, for the awards ceremony (optional).

Food and beverage (optional)

Contact local restaurants and ask them to donate food or beverages for the event.

Pulling it together

  • Assign each veteran to a specific time, and then assign a court reporter and an interviewer.
  • All interviews can be audio- or video-recorded, and a CD or DVD of the veteran’s interview may be returned with each transcript (optional, but preferred by the Library of Congress).
  • Recruit volunteers to work at the VHP Day to direct participants, monitor schedules, set up refreshments, hand out materials, or fill in for an interviewer. Have a backup list of volunteers in case you need someone to fill in at the last moment.
  • Send out schedule, directions, and facilities information to all participants.
  • Secure an MC for the awards ceremony (optional).
  • Prepare signage for inside and outside of the building, such as where restrooms are located.
  • Prepare interviewing site(s) with chairs, tables, lighting, and A/V equipment.
  • Prepare food and beverage area (optional).

Recognition of participants (optional)

Plaques or certificates may be awarded to interviewers, court reporters, and veterans at the closing ceremony. Or consider having a plaque with all participants’ names to display in your organization or school to commemorate the VHP Day.

Awards ceremony (optional)

Contact a local high-school ROTC group or scout troop to participate in a closing ceremony. The closing ceremony may include:

  • Presentation of the colors or flag ceremony
  • Singing of National Anthem
  • Presentation of certificates

Wrap-up

  • Send thank-you notes to veterans, court reporters, and interviewers for donating their time and talent to this important project.
  • Send a note to court reporters reminding them to return the completed transcripts, CDs, DVDs, GSAs, and required Field Kit forms to NCRF within 30 days. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

Be sure to follow all instructions and guidelines developed by the Library of Congress for interviews, recordings, transcriptions, and release forms. Please return all required documents and materials to:

National Court Reporters Foundation
Veterans History Project
12030 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 400
Reston, VA, 20191
 

This is not a comprehensive list of tasks but rather a short guide meant to get you started. We welcome your comments or suggestions.

Thank you for supporting our veterans and helping to preserve our nation’s history!