Book produced by Goldey Beacom features stories from more than 40 Summit vets

A project sponsored by Goldey Beacom College has brought together the stories of numerous area veterans into a single volume, with its proceeds going to assist veteran families.

Students with the Pike Creek college’s athletics department spent months interviewing over 40 veterans at the Summit Retirement Center in Hockessin as part of the “Veterans of the Summit: Stories of Service” book project.

The project evolved from a conversation between Summit program director Scott Thomas and GB assistant athletic director Jeremy Benoit, over Thomas’s hope to have GB students conduct interviews with their veteran community.

Thomas, who added that 12 Summit residents with veteran status died just last year, said he thought it was important to capture the lives of their residents on paper to share with their families and with future generations.

“Veteran’s Day is something that is close to my heart, and so are our veterans,” Thomas said. “And they have a lot more to say than just their ‘war stories.’”

Benoit said the school started sending students in groups of 10 to Summit in January 2018, and spent months conducting in-depth interviews with the residents.

Having spent a lot of time in a retirement center as a teen, Benoit said he’s always loved spending time with elder citizens – particularly veterans, who’s advice he said helped him become the person he is today.

When he started at GB in 2015 and was asked to head up community service projects, he discovered the Summit just a mile down the road.

“It made perfect sense, to me,” he said.

Students from the athletic department and other GB groups worked interviewing the veterans for over 10 months, Benoit said.

The interviews were then transcribed verbatim before being re-written as “stories,” recounting the vets’ experiences in prose.

The book ended up taking third place in the annual NCAA Division 2 Award of Excellence competition last year for the most outstanding community service project, beating out over 300 other submissions, Benoit said.

Between sales of the book, and cash from the award, Benoit said they were able to donate roughly $3,000 to the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen in Dover.

Having conducted some of the interviews himself, Benoit said he was surprised at how intimate some of the stories were.

“Everyone you talk to has an important story to tell, whether they were on the beach at Normandy or spent a few months in Vietnam,” Benoit said.

Copies of the book, which comes in hardcover, softcover and as an e-book, are available at gbcathletics.picaboo.com, code “gbc.”