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First Coast Veterans Team With Jax Students To Share Homecoming Stories Across Generations

Gary E. Bruce

A new documentary film is premiering in St. Johns County this weekend honoring several generations of local veterans.

Presented by the Veterans Council of St. Johns County in partnership with the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress, Commitment to Honor is the story of how local combat veterans of the Vietnam War are helping combat vets now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan cope with coming home.

The film was produced by students from The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville.

Students handled both the technical operations of the production and the interviews with veterans, which was important for the purpose of the film according to executive producer Gary Bruce.

"We're trying to reach across generations, not just generations of veterans, but generations to our young people. That's a key part of this," he said, noting that the young filmmakers were born after the end of the Vietnam War.

The film is the fifth in a series presented by the Veterans Council of St. Johns County created to tell the stories of returning combat veterans.

Council chairman Bill Dudley, producer Michal Rothfield, and executive producer Gary Bruce joined Melissa Ross on First Coast Connect to discuss the film and Sunday's premiere event in St. Augustine.

Commitment to Honor will premiere Sunday, Nov. 3 at the Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine.

The event, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., will include information and displays from 24 exhibitors including the Vietnam Memorial Wall, the Agent Orange Quilt of Tears and several local veterans organizations.

A program scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. will feature addresses from Florida U.S. Representative and veteran Ron Desantis, retired U.S. Army Colonel Mike Prendergast, and the presentation of the winners of the 2013 Ben Meggitt Scholarship Award Essay Contest by St. Johns County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner, after which the film will be screened. The event is free and open to the public.

Watch the trailer for Commitment to Honor below:

You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax and Patrick Donges @patrickhdonges.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.
Patrick Donges served as WJCT's Digital Content Editor from August 2013 - August 2014.