CARMEL – Marking this past week’s centennial anniversary of the United States entry into World War I, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced Vet-Scan, a co-operative project with the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency, Historian’s Office, Southeast Museum and other volunteers to bring military service memories and photos into the digital age.
“The Great War was a momentous time in our country and county’s history where residents served and showed their strength and hometown pride in the war that was supposed to ‘end all wars’,” says Odell who recently enjoyed reading a selection of ‘letters to home’ written by sons of Putnam stationed in training camps and others serving on the front lines nearly 100 years ago.
“These letters tell an incredible story of patriotism and bravery during the Great War,” Odell continued.
“Securing military memories of the past for future generations is part and parcel to the work of the Putnam County Veterans Museum and the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council,” says Karl Rohde, Vietnam combat veteran (U.S. Army) and Director of Putnam County’s Veterans Service Agency. “Now’s the time to help secure military stories in our community. Through Vet-Scan we are inviting local families with a military story to come forward and take advantage of a free offer to have old letters, photos and assorted military memories scanned so families do not lose their loved one’s story of service.”
Veterans and qualifying participants in Vet-Scan will be able to make appointments through the County Historian’s Office and with other volunteers throughout the community to have their photos and items scanned and recorded which will then be stored on a memory device such as a USB or burned to a disk, all free of charge.
“We need dust off those photo albums and other items from all the past wars and conflicts and secure the memories before they get lost or damaged,” continued Rohde, “or worst yet, thrown in the trash.”
Putnam County’s Veterans Museum and Putnam County Joint Veterans Council receive donated items along with photographs and slides, of which oftentimes, families are unsure of their value. “While these memories may not have great monetary value, the recorded story of military service is priceless,” says Rohde.
“Memories are at risk to be lost to time. To combat discarded memories and preserve records of military service is important,” says Amy Campanaro, Executive Director of the Southeast Museum in Brewster, N.Y., who oversees a limited collection of documents and artifacts from Brewster and Southeast resident’s military service that ranges from the Mexican War of 1848, to the Civil War and up through Korea and Vietnam. “I think this is an exciting project and opportunity to give back to veterans in our community.”
For more information on Vet-Scan, please contact the Putnam County Historian’s office at 845-808-1420 or email