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After An Accident, Father And Daughter Reflect On What It Takes To Live Again

In 1990, Les Harris was just beginning his career in construction. A father of two young children, he looked forward to working to buy a house and take care of his family. Everything changed on October 5th of that year when a work site accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. 

Les Harris with his son Troy and daughter Angie Presley in Republic, MO in 1987. Courtesy of Les Harris.

As Les learned to live without the use of his legs, he also learned the importance of having a never quit attitude. For the past 32 years, Angie and Les have even celebrated October 5th as his “life day.” 

“Everybody that meets you walks away feeling better, smiling, laughing. You have a positive perspective. And I know that I got that from you. I see the difference you’ve made in people’s lives,” Angie told her father. They came to StoryCorps to reflect on how that perspective has carried them both through over the decades since the accident. 

Top Photo: Les Harris and Angie Presly at their StoryCorps interview in Springfield, MO on April 22, 2022. By Sarah Padgett for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired March 31, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Doctor Remembers The Lasting Impact Of A Small Gesture

Robert Carolla was just 11 years old when his brother, John, died of Leukemia. It was a dark and quiet time for the family as they grieved the loss of their youngest child.

Norma Carolla (left) with her sons, John (center) and Robert (right), taken in the early 1950s.
Courtesy of Robert Carolla.

Robert later went on to become an oncologist, helping many patients and their families through treatment, and sometimes loss.

During his career, Robert often reflected on a small gesture from his brother’s doctor and the impact it had on his family as they grieved.

At StoryCorps, Dr. Carolla sat down with his wife, Margaret, to remember how it shaped his own career.

Top Photo: Dr. Robert Carolla and Margaret Carolla at their StoryCorps interview in Springfield, Missouri. By Sonia Kinkhabwala for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired Friday, July 8, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Balancing Risk: Doctor Makes Tough Calls Between COVID-19 And Family

Dr. Joseph Kras works in hospice and palliative care in St. Louis, Missouri. After long days treating many COVID-19 patients, he goes home to his 18-year-old daughter Sophie, who has a condition that makes her vulnerable to the virus.

They spoke through StoryCorps Connect about the tough choices the coronavirus pandemic demands. 

Top Photo: Dr. Joseph Kras and his daughter, Sophie Kras, at their StoryCorps interview in Olivette, Missouri on June 13th, 2020. Photo courtesy of the Kras family.

Originally aired June 26, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Swept Away: Falling for the Man with 600 Vacuums

We love a good love story here at StoryCorps. But this one? It sucks … just not in the way you might think. 

Tom Gasko has been a vacuum repairman for over 35 years. He also collects vacuums hundreds and hundreds of them and proudly displays them in his very own vacuum cleaner museum in a Rolla, Missouri strip mall. 

He came to StoryCorps to share his love for the machines with his husband, Donnie Pedrola. 


Top photo: Donnie Pedrola and Tom Gasko at their StoryCorps interview in Rolla, MI on June 26, 2019. By Dupe Oyebolu for StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: In 2001, Tom got a tattoo of the logo of his favorite vacuum cleaner, The Airway from 1935. This is the same machine he hopes to spend eternity in. Courtesy Tom Gasko.

Originally aired September 6, 2019 on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

‘It’s Such A Gift Of A Job’: Nurses Reflect On Their Work In The Intensive Care Unit

Kristin Sollars and Marci Ebberts are nurses at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. They worked side by side in the intensive care unit for years and grew so close they’ve come to call themselves “work wives.”

Kristin and Marci sat down at StoryCorps to reflect on how their work is more than just a job. 

Top Photo: Kristin Sollars and Marci Ebbers at their StoryCorps interview in Orlando, FL on May 21, 2019. By Emilyn Sosa for StoryCorps.

This interview was recorded in partnership with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

Originally aired August 30, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Five Years Later, Two Ferguson Protestors Reflect on the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photo that Captured their Anguish — and Connection

Five years ago, when news of Michael Brown Jr.’s police shooting death spread, two strangers made their way to the Ferguson Police Department to protest. A local photographer, Robert Cohen, captured the moment.

In the photo, a young African American man’s face is twisted in anguish, tears streaming down his cheeks. Next to him, an older woman extends her hand to his shoulder in comfort.

The photo would go on the win the Pulitzer Prize, along with 18 other photos taken by photographers with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Earlier this summer, those two strangers, Jamell Spann and Elizabeth Vega, came to StoryCorps to remember that pivotal moment, and the friendship that grew out of it.


Top photo: Jamell Spann and Elizabeth Vega are photographed on Monday, August 11, 2014 as police officers in riot gear clear demonstrators from the area surrounding the Ferguson Police Department. Hundreds had arrived to protest the police shooting of Michael Brown Jr. AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen
Bottom photo: Elizabeth Vega and Jamell Spann at their StoryCorps interview in St. Louis, Missouri on June 27, 2019. By Dupe Oyebolu for StoryCorps.

Originally aired on August 9, 2019 on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

Michael Brown Jr.’s Sisters Remember Their Brother on the Fifth Anniversary of His Police Shooting Death

Five years have passed since the death of Michael Brown Jr. on August 9, 2014. 

He was killed in Ferguson, Missouri by police officer Darren Wilson and lay in the street where he was shot for four hours, sparking protests across the country. 

In the media frenzy that followed, few people heard the story of Michael Brown Jr. from those who knew him.

Earlier this year, two of his sisters, Triniya and Trinity Walker, ages 17 and 18, came to StoryCorps in St. Louis to remember him.


Top photo: Trinity and Triniya Walker pose at their StoryCorps interview in St. Louis, Missouri on June 27, 2019. By Dupe Oyebolu for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Michael Brown Jr. poses in his graduation cap and gown in March 2014, several months before his death. By Elcardo Anthony.

Korean War POW Shares What It Was Like to Be Reported Dead — and What Happened When He Came Home Two Years Later

Ninety-year-old Walter Dixon, of Waynesville, Missouri, is a veteran of three wars. He joined the Army at age 16 to serve during World War II. He came back from that war and got married, just before shipping off to join the Army’s 38th Infantry in Korea. 

While there, he was declared dead on the battlefield — only to return home alive two years later. 

He came to StoryCorps with his son, Russ Dixon, to share his story.


There’s a little bit more to the story.

When Walter was declared dead in Korea, a woman named Aldine May Fenton wrote his obituary for the local paper.


He ended up marrying her after his return. They had three children, including Russ Dixon.


Walter retired from the military in 1971, 26 years after first signing up.

Top photo: Walter Dixon and Russ Dixon at their StoryCorps interview in Waynesville, Missouri on June 26, 2019. By Dupe Oyebolu for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Walter Dixon poses with newspaper clippings and photos detailing his experience as a POW. By Dupe Oyebolu for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: A copy of Walter Dixon’s obituary, which was posted after he was presumed dead during the Korean War, and a newspaper article declaring his return. Courtesy Russ Dixon.
Bottom photo: Walter Dixon poses with his second wife, Aldine Dixon, and his death certificate after returning from Korea, where he was held prisoner of war for more than two years. Courtesy Russ Dixon.

Originally aired July 27, 2019 on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Walking in a Mother’s Legacy

Sada Jackson lost her mother, Ileana Watson, to breast cancer in 2016. Just after saying goodbye to her own mother, Sada became a mother herself.

Years later, Sada was still longing for all the moments they’d never get to share — and thinking about all the questions she never got to ask. So she sat down at StoryCorps in Kansas City, Missouri with her mom’s best friend, Angela Morehead-Mugita, to get to know her mom a little better.



Top photo: Sada Jackson (right) at StoryCorps in Kansas City, MO in 2018 with her late-mother’s best friend, Angela Morehead-Mugita. By Savannah Winchester for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Sada Jackson with her mother, Ilena Watson, in October 2014. Courtesy of Sada Jackson.
Bottom photo: Sada Jackson with her son, Kendrix, in November 2018. By Bria Siglar. 

Originally aired May 10, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

A Father-Daughter Beatboxing Duo on Making Music

Ed Cage and Nicole Paris are a father-daughter beatboxing duo.

Back during the 1980s, Ed immersed himself in the St. Louis hip hop scene and fell in love with beatboxing. Fast-forward a couple decades and that love is now firmly planted in 26-year-old Nicole as well.

At StoryCorps, they talk about how it all began.

Top photo: Ed Cage and Nicole Paris at StoryCorps. Today, the beatboxing duo travels the world performing on stage together.

Originally aired July 13, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.