Orlando Archives - StoryCorps

Without Memory: A Love Story From Two Veterans

Matthew Perry wanted to be a Marine since he was 6-years old. He enlisted around 2005, and by 2008 he was serving in Afghanistan. 

One day, while on duty, he was hit by three IEDs in the course of a single day. But the lasting impacts of his traumatic brain injuries wouldn’t be felt until years later.

In 2010, while on leave from the Marines, a friend would introduce him to a college student named Helen. The two became inseparable after that, and would marry a couple of years later. 

But in 2014, Helen got a call from Kings Bay Naval Base – where Matthew was stationed at the time – with news that something was terribly wrong.

The hands of Helen and Matthew on July 15, 2014, while Matt was in the hospital in Brunswick, GA after his seizures started. Courtesy of Helen Perry. 

Capt. Helen Perry and Sgt. Matthew Perry came to StoryCorps to talk about what happened next.

Helen, Ethan, and Matthew on Jan 5, 2022 at Fort Clinch State park in Florida. Courtesy of Helen Perry. 
Top Photo: Helen and Matthew Perry after Helen’s promotion to Captain in July of 2015, at the Brooke Army Medical Center. Courtesy of Helen Perry. 

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 October 1st, 2022, on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

In A House Full Of Rules, Cousins Remember A Rare Glimpse Of Freedom

In the early 1980s, Monica Jordan and her family moved in with her great aunt in Atlanta. That’s where she and her cousin, LaTonya Walker, developed a bond that made them more like sisters.

With two moms raising them under one roof, there were plenty of rules. Church was required every Sunday and no one got to play unless all of their chores were done.

At seven and nine years old, Monica and LaTonya dreamed of the day where they could spend a day doing whatever they wanted. And one particular afternoon, that’s exactly what they did.

Monica and LaTonya came to StoryCorps to remember their rare glimpse of freedom.

Top Photo: Monica Jordan and LaTonya Walker at their StoryCorps interview in Atlanta, Georgia on May 30th, 2021 for StoryCorps.

Originally aired Friday, April 1, 2022, 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.

Emily Addison

On June 12, 2016 a lone gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Among those killed was Deonka Drayton. She was 32.

Deonka left behind a young son and her co-parent, Emily Addison. At StoryCorps, Emily sat down to remember her.


Originally aired June 9, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

There were hundreds of people at Pulse the night of the shooting, and some were able to escape in time. Christopher Hansen is among those who survived that night. It was the first time he’d ever visited Pulse, having just recently moved to Orlando. He came to StoryCorps to remember what happened that night.


These interviews were recorded in partnership with WMFE and the Family Equality Council. In March, StoryCorps recorded 14 conversations in Orlando, Florida about the Pulse nightclub shooting and the lives that have been deeply affected by the tragedy. The project welcomed survivors of the shooting, friends and family members of lost loved ones, and community organizations who have been vital in the aftermath to record their experiences, and focused on capturing stories from the LGBTQ community. In addition, WMFE used the StoryCorps app to collect stories from the broader Orlando community, in a project they called Taking Your Pulse.

Top photo: Deonka Drayton with her son, Diyari. (Photo courtesy Emily Addison)

Middle photo: Emily Addison and Deonka Drayton with their son, Diyari. (Photo courtesy Emily Addison)
Bottom photo: Christopher Hansen at StoryCorps

Gladys de la Torre and Carolina de la Torre

Azucena de la Torre, a native of Ecuador, worked on the 103rd floor in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. She was killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

As a professional, de la Torre was a vice president and senior project manager at Cantor Fitzgerald. In her personal life, she was a mentor to her younger sisters.

Two of de la Torre’s sisters, Gladys and Carolina de la Torre, came to StoryCorps to remember their final moments together.

Recorded August 29, 2010.

Sy Saliba and Yvette Saliba

Sy Saliba talks to his daughter, Yvette, about her mother, Pat, who passed away from multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, in 2005.

Originally aired May 14, 2010 on NPR’s Morning Edition.