Virtual Footlocker program helps veterans save their military experience

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 6:31 AM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Some military veterans keep their mementos in boxes or footlockers. However, those who have served in 21st-century conflicts are finding they need a way of keeping more than just physical items. LSU researcher Dr. Edward Benoit served in the Air Force and decided there had to be a better way.

“The veterans we talked with were really concerned with how to keep their old boots, trinkets, and doo-dads they picked up along the way,” said LSU researcher Dr. Edward Benoit. “Along with physical letters, photographs, emails, Facebook posts, and Tweets. It was a much wider variety than we anticipated.”

Over the last 5 years, Benoit conducted research to make it easier to preserve memorabilia for veterans and others. It’s called the Virtual Footlocker Project.

“It’s geared towards veterans, but a lot of the material is also good for Louisianans who want to prepare for the next hurricane and figure out where to store things. How should I store things? They can get some benefit out of it as well.”

Benoit got the idea when he started going thru his veteran father’s own footlocker.

“It’s trying to help those who have served us to preserve their own memories for their loved ones. (edit) That these materials would be available for their children, their spouses as they continue on.”

Benoit says he hopes to hold workshops where veterans can actually have their documents digitized for their families to share.