Senior Connections Senior Connections Dec. 2018 - Page 7

Delano woman helps tell veterans’ stories BY EMILY BYWATERS Correspondent Everybody has a story to tell, and June Braith of Delano knows that very well. She specializes in telling stories - specifi cally, tell- ing the stories of men and women who have served our country. A Delano resident for 35 years, (and Minnesota resident for life) she has a special passion for hearing the tales of veterans. “Every veteran has a story, and they all want it to be told, they just don’t think their story is exciting enough,” she commented. June’s own background in her family’s military in- volvement was a key factor in sparking her interest in war stories. She had a father, three brothers, and a husband all enlisted in the services. When she retired from mechanical inspecting about three years ago, she found that she was unsatisfi ed with sitting home all day and therefore, decided to put her free time towards helping people. Originally, she attempted to volunteer at a hospital, but shortly after decided that she wasn’t quite equipped for that line of work. “I thought, there’s got to be another way,” she noted. Luckily, as soon as one door closed, another opened. Braith found out that a friend of hers was planning on building a veterans memorial in Carver County, and needed people to log the veterans’ sto- ries onto an online website. Eagerly, she agreed to assist. “People call and ask if they can have their stories done,” she explained. “Everyone’s a little differ- ent. Most of the time people send something. I have everyone’s original stories in their own handwrit- ing, and I just haven’t had the heart to throw them away.” Where do the veteran’s stories go? First, they are put in a big binder that Braith owns - her current binder has over 100 different stories of ser- vice in it. After that, she types them up and uploads them to a special website made in honor of the different people who have served. (www.ccvmr. org) The stories range anywhere from a simple list of facts (otherwise known as a DT 214 form) to tes- timonials of the veterans. “When I see a vet’s hat, I go over there, and I say ‘Thank you for your service.’ Most of them say, ‘Oh, thank you, thank you very much,’ but every once in a while you’ll get one that you just can’t walk away from.” She goes on to state, “If that was my dad or my brother, I’d like to think someone would take the time to listen to their stories.” She fi rmly believes that it’s important to keep track of individual’s stories, as that’s what will be passed down to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She also believes that everyone she’s ever met has an interesting story. The longest story she has writ- ten took her several days of interviewing, but Braith claimed that she could have listened to him for hours and hours. As for her favorite story to write, the award goes to the story of Edith Widmer and her husband. When Edith was 15 or 16, she had lived in Ger- many, as a citizen. Coincidentally, her husband also lived in Germany, as a US soldier. At one point, he made her drink some water to make sure it had not Delano’s June Braith is having fun in her retrement by been poisoned by the Germans. Braith laughed as listening to military veterans and witing their war sto- she recounted this story, interjecting that she had ries. The stories she pens end up on the Carver County Veterans Memorial and Registry website, so all may asked Mrs. Widmer, “And you married him??” The read them. full story of the Widmers, she notes, is eight pages SUBMITTED PHOTO long. “I’m just having a lot of fun, and I hope I never stop having this much fun.” Braith concluded. “I’ve met a lot of nice people, had a lot of times where I’ve come home kind of feeling drained. . . but it’s really opened my eyes.” To read more veter- Canadian Rockies: ans stories, visit Carver June 25th - July 3rd, 2019 County Veterans Me- $1,595 pp double occupancy Exploring Central Arizona morial and Registry on- line. Feb. 5 - 7, 2019 Washington DC and New York Health Care Choices 2019 is now available online The expanded edition of the Health Care Choic- es for Minnesotans on Medicare publication is now available electronically at It includes all Part D, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cost Plans and Medigap policies avail- able in Minnesota in 2019. Print copies of the Choices publication will be available in early November. To request a copy, call the Senior Link- Age Line at 1-800- 333-2433 and press option 4. Leave your name and address and a copy will be mailed to you. Senior Connections HJ.COM $535 per person double occupancy Contact Travel Easy for Flight prices July 17 - 30, 2019 $2,655 pp double occupancy Branson Music Fest April 24 - 29, 2019 $834 pp double occupancy Alaskan Cruise Contact us for tour pricing! August 19 - 30, 2019 Join us for our Alaska Info Night! December 11 @ 5:30pm at Travel Easy 952.442.4443 16 W Main St. | Waconia, MN 55387 | @traveleasyinc Senior Connections December 2018 7