Documentary Production and Distribution News

Memorial Day: Losing the Memories

posted May 22, 2013, 13:52

Greg Vaughn, Emmy award-winning film producer and founder of The Visual Biography Company, is now pursuing a passion to preserve the stories of veterans and their families.

Every day nearly 2,000 WWII & Korean War Vets pass away. Of the 21 million that served in those two wars, barely 3 million remain. 48 million South Koreans and countless other millions live in freedom because of the sacrifice of our veterans. Almost everyone can name a friend or family member that served. Within 20 years, their sacrifice and their stories will fade into time. Even more tragic, the personal stories of those veterans and their families will also be lost. Greg Vaughn, Emmy award-winning film producer and founder of The Visual Biography Company, is now pursuing a passion to preserve these stories for the families of this “greatest generation”. 

In 1974 Vaughn was drawn into the movie business with very little knowledge of how it worked. By developing strategic partnerships he found the help he needed to pursue his passion of “making history come alive”. His "In Search of the Heroes" collection has won every educational video award that can be won with stories of Harriet Tubman (Underground Railroad), Buffalo Bill Cody, Thomas Edison, and many others. 

The idea of doing living biographies came about in 1995 as he was watching A&E and the thought of making a movie about his hero, his mom. She was gravely ill but still able to communicate her story. At her funeral Vaughn played a segment of her last words to her family, “I’m so thankful that you’re here and honored that you’d come. I want to talk to you about a couple of things: the importance of faith, hope, and love." For 10 minutes she spoke, on VHS tape, to that crowd. Vaughn saw the power of visual media to convey core values to future generations. This inspired him to add visual biographies to his productions. A recent article in the Dallas Morning News (Caught on camera: a lifetime of memories, June 17, 2012) details Vaughn's journey to his work today. 

Vaughn knew that the Hollywood type biographies cost about $150,000. He set about to knock 90% off that cost, knowing he would only break even. But he also knew it would be worth the effort. 

Zig Ziglar, Phil Romano (Macaroni Grill), Tony Roosevelt (grandson of FDR), and the Thompson family (7-Eleven) are a few of recent projects of the Visual Biography Company. Vaughn had been limiting his biographies to just six a year, but the need and desire to capture the vanishing legacy of our WWII & Korean War veterans has expanded his passion to complete 20 a year. 

He currently has 15 biographies in production and his vision is growing to reach out to our WWII & Korean War veterans and their families. He says “What would it be worth to you to have your great-great grandfather speak directly to you in a high quality A&E–style visual biography?” Everyone answers “priceless”. He knows that within a few short years the amazing stories of these heroes will be gone for their families, and the family is what’s important to Vaughn. He says, “Hollywood produces all kinds of movies and documentaries but it’s the personal stories that make a difference to those left behind.” Lyn Sidener Baugh, whose dad was the youngest Army Air Corp pilot in WWII, says “I’ve been looking for years for someone that could do my dad’s story justice. He doesn’t think he’s a hero, but he was to all those that served with him, and even more so to us, his family.”

Vaughn says “It’s one thing to tell your kids about hitting the beaches of Iwo Jima or taking a hill in Korea, but it’s quite another to tell the story with rolled music and archival footage.” His passion became a hobby, now his hobby is becoming a priceless treasure for hundreds of families. 

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