JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One Navy veteran is making it his mission to go to all 50 states to collect the stories from families of fallen service members.
Keith Sherman is documenting the sacrifices they’ve made while serving their country.
On Saturday, Sherman sat down with the Seamans, a Jacksonville family that lost their 20-year-old son in 2005.
“You know that phone call is everlasting to me ... everlasting,” David Seamans recalls.
Army Private First-class Timothy Seamans was killed after an explosive device detonated near his Humvee following a mission in Iraq.
David Seamans said he’ll never forget the day two military service members showed up at his doorstep.
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“I said, 'Don’t come here telling me my son is dead … don’t do that,' and I fell on my knees," David said.
The reality finally hit him when they brought his son’s remains back through Jacksonville International Airport.
“And I just wouldn’t let go of the casket and I stood up and put my hat on and saluted,” he said.
Powerful stories like these are why Sherman is traveling across the country listening to other Gold Star families share how they’ve coped with the loss of a loved one.
He started the project last year as part of the Gold Star Dirt Organization.
Sherman said after spending 26 years in the Navy, he dealt with PTSD and found that sharing these stories helped him heal.
“I lost a lot of, you know, people that I have served with also so being able to come here and do this -- it’s very holistic for me to be able to come and understand their story,” Sherman said.
Sherman’s journey doesn’t end in Jacksonville. He’ll continue his mission going north, collecting more stories form families of the fallen.
When he finishes, he’ll submit his interviews to the Library of Congress in D.C. to help preserve the memories of fallen service members around the country.
“A lot of times, it’s just people see names. My job is what I’m trying to do is to educate America and the country on the story behind the name,” Sherman said.
Sherman tells Action News Jax he’s hoping to have visited all 50 states by the end of September.
His next stop is in South Carolina.
To learn more about his Project Gold Star Dirt organization, you can click here: https://goldstardirt.org/
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