On November 11, 2014, the Stokes VA Hospital, in Cleveland Ohio, was the site for the introduction of Songs and Stories for Soldiers MP3 program for veterans. Dan and Gerri Perkins, co-founders of the Songs and Stories for Soldiers, Inc. foundation, attended the launch of the pilot program offered with the Salvation Army.
Dan Perkins entertained the Vets talking about how he became a writer and the story behind his trilogy, The Brotherhood of the Red Nile. Dan engaged the 150 Vets in attendance with his story telling program that helps the audience gain some insight into the writing process. Together the audience worked with Dan in developing a story line for a possible thriller. One soldier asked Dan, “Do we get royalties for this story?”
The week of Thanksgiving, the Salvation Army volunteers passed out 500 MP3 players preloaded with two books to the Veterans at Stokes. Funding for these MP3 players was provided by the Sonnie Schepps Robinson Foundation of Houston, TX. The web site, songsandstoriesforsoldiers.us, was up and running where the Vets can download from 2 million songs, 100,000 audio books and 30,000 classic 1930’s to 1960’s radio shows.
The objective of Songs and Stories for Soldiers is to help the injured Vet make it through the night. The clinical staff has indicated that the dark hours are the most difficult for the vet dealing with post traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD), fear, anger, and anxiety. “If we can get the Vet to put in the ear buds and push the play button then we have a chance to get them safely through the night.” Perkins went on to say, “We have a simple mission, helping the Vet get through the dark hours.”
The web sight will be expanded to make the offerings more robust content for the Vets. We want to build one of the largest collections of audio oral histories of the American veteran. These oral histories will be in the “Something Special” portal of the web site and can be found in the “My Story” section.