Cade Colwell recently opted to study local veterans for his Eagle Scout project.
The young man said his project was a national oral history program to video record stories and experiences of America’s veterans.
“The interviews have to be [more than] 30 minutes long and must be put in the proper format on a flash drive with a minute-by-minute log,” Colwell said. “I did the interviewing and my grandmother did the filming.”
Some of his fellow scouts – a couple of whom he joined the organization with in second grade – also assisted with the project.
“My project is a little different from my friends’ projects because I did not build anything,” Colwell said. “I have always had an interest in history and the military so I wanted a project that combined the two.”
Colwell interviewed more than a dozen veterans either from Madisonville or with family in the area, including Jimmy Kolacek, Mark Bennett, Burke Landry, David Sims, Sonny Dean, Mike Cousins, Butch McDaniel, Danny Singletary, Wib Amacher, Pete Magargee, Danny Malouf, Jim Vance, Gene Whitesides, Allen Boudreaux and Roger Boyd.
But the project took a special turn when the student got to see history being made firsthand.
“On May 27, my grandma and I flew to Washington, D.C., to turn the interviews in to the Library of Congress,” Colwell said. “I was very excited and honored to turn the veteran's interviews in because now the voices of Madisonville's veterans will live on forever. It makes me so proud to know that these men were willing to share their experiences with me and that I was able to share them with others. Each veteran had a unique story to tell and I learned a lot about all the different jobs in the military. After college, I intend to join the Marines so it was especially interesting to me to hear about all of their experiences.”
Colwell said his favorite part of the trip was visiting the Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.
“The changing of the guard is very solemn and emotional to watch,” he said. “Being there had special meaning to me knowing that my Peepaw will be buried at Arlington when he dies. There were American flags on all 400,00 graves and it really makes you emotional when you see it and know that these brave men gave their lives for us to have the freedoms that we enjoy today. These men and all veterans are the best of the best, the bravest of the brave and they should be honored and thanked for their service every single day of their life.”