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Honoring Transgender Day of Visibility

March 31 marks International Transgender Day of Visibility. We are sharing stories that celebrate the strength and courage of transgender and nonbinary people and give voice to the discrimination they continue to face today. Join us in honoring the voices of our transgender participants as they share memories of joy, pain, and love.

Still The One

After 10 years of marriage and two children, Les and Scott were struggling. Les had a secret that caused him to fall into a deep depression, pulling away from his family. Finally, Scott confronted Les, and their family changed forever. Read the full transcript here.

“My parents were afraid this might be contagious.”
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“I Was Going To Have A Family Again”

Elizabeth Coffey-Williams was in her early 20s when she told her family that she was transgender. She sat down for a StoryCorps interview with her niece, Jennifer Coffey, to reflect on that journey. Read the full transcript here.

The Door She Opened

At the age of 63, Dee Westenhauser came out as a transgender woman. She remembers growing up in El Paso, Texas in the 1950s, and the one person who made her feel like herself. Read the full transcript here.

We're Still Here
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We’re Still Here

In this podcast episode, hear from those who have frequently been the first to stand up for equality — but are typically the last to be recognized for their contributions.  In the LGBTQ community, those are often the voices of trans women of color. Read the full transcript here.

“I was worried that you might not accept me”
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A Road Trip And Lost Time

​​For almost 30 years, T. Chick McClure and their dad, Chas McClure, were estranged. Shortly after they reconnected, Chas invited Chick on a 2-week road trip through the Southwest. Read the full transcript here.

Alexis Martinez and Lesley Martinez Etherly

Growing up in the 1960s in a housing project on the South Side of Chicago, Alexis Martinez knew that she had to hide from others that she is transgender. At StoryCorps, Alexis speaks with her daughter, Lesley Martinez Etherly, about her childhood. Read the full transcript here.

“It’s like a part of my heart is gone.”
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“It’s Like A Part Of My Heart Is Gone”

Warning: The following story recalls violence and murder. Angie Zapata, a transgender woman in Colorado, was killed in 2008 by a person she was dating. Angie’s family came to StoryCorps to memorialize her. Read the full transcript here.

StoryCorps 497: Meet Them Where They Are
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Meet Them Where They Are

For some kids, the saying “just be yourself” can be a scary proposition. In this podcast episode, hear from an Arizona family helping their 9-year-old transgender son do just that. Read the full transcript here.

"You said that you were in the wrong body, that you should be a man."
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A Family Transition

In 1997, Les and Scott GrantSmiths’ marriage was on the rocks. They had been together for ten years and were raising two children. But Les was hiding something: although he was born female, he felt like a man in the wrong body. Read the full transcript here.

Love Lost, And Found

Sue McConnell and Kristyn Weed are best friends and Vietnam-era veterans. Although they didn’t serve in the war together, they share a

Ron Gunzburger Joins StoryCorps as Chief of Staff

We are pleased to announce that Ron Gunzburger is joining StoryCorps as Chief of Staff, Special Projects. Ron will work with CEO Sandra Clark and Founder & President Dave Isay to ensure the maximum impact of One Small Step, a major initiative to combat the divisions in our country, bringing strangers with different political beliefs together for a conversation—not to debate politics, but to get to know each other as people. To date, more than 3,400 people have participated in a One Small Step conversation and the effort has garnered notable media coverage, including a “60 Minutes” segment, and most recently, a feature in the Wall Street Journal.

Before joining StoryCorps, Ron—a Democrat—served for eight years as the Senior Advisor (Political Director) for Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan. Ron also served as the Governor’s Director of Covid-19 Response Strategy throughout the state of emergency (2020-22), helping save countless lives and businesses during the darkest days of the pandemic. 

Ron comes with a wealth of experience navigating political divides, working as a campaign manager or senior strategist on more than 130 campaigns for centrist, good government candidates. In 1997, he created the popular, a complete online directory of statewide and federal candidates, that he still publishes. Ron’s @politics1com Twitter feed is followed by the nation’s leading political reporters and campaign consultants.

Ron sees StoryCorps—and its One Small Step initiative—as his next opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Americans. As a child and grandchild of Holocaust survivors, Ron is acutely aware of what can occur when people lose sight of their shared humanity. 

An attorney by training, Ron has been a public defender, a state racketeering prosecutor, a litigation partner in a top-100 national law firm, and a governmental general counsel. He also served as a senior civilian commander in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies, and successfully advanced transparency, accountability and criminal justice reforms.

Honoring Muslim Women’s Day

March 27, 2023 marks the seventh annual celebration of Muslim Women’s Day. Established in response to the Muslim Ban in 2017, the global initiative stands to elevate Muslim women’s representation and to amplify their voices and stories. At StoryCorps, we are honoring Muslim women by sharing stories that communicate their diverse experiences.

Add your voice and story to our Archive, alongside those of other Muslim women, by recording a conversation with a loved one. You can record in-person using the StoryCorps App or remotely using StoryCorps Connect. Show your participation in the global campaign by adding #MuslimWomensDay to the description of your interview!

Listen to some stories that honor muslim women

How her life changed after 9/11 | When we listen

Listen to Amani, founder of Muslim Girl talk with her father about their experiences with their faith living in New York City, and why she’s proud to be Muslim.


Dana Aljubouri, a devout Muslim living in Jacksonville, FL, is eager to don the hijab. However, her mother, Basma Alawee, worries about the experiences this decision to cover her hair might bring. At StoryCorps, Dana and Basma sit down to discuss the responsibilities that come with a hijab.

Since 2003, StoryCorps has built an archive of the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered — and we want to add yours. Preserve your story for future generations by recording with either StoryCorps Connect or the StoryCorps App.

Staff Spotlight: Petrona Celestine, Senior Analyst, Accounting & Finance

About Me:
First and foremost, I am, and will always be, an “island girl:” a proud product of the Spice Isle, Grenada. Second to this, is a tenacious woman with many layers—loving them all! When I am not engrossed in matters concerning my love for business, finance, and corporate strategy, you can find me absorbed in my passion for all things entertainment, including music, movies, books, video games, and sports! Above all, I am an avid lover of life, nature, and adventure.

What is your role and how long have you been with the organization?
I am the Senior Analyst, Accounting and Finance within StoryCorps’ Finance department. I started this position on November 15, 2021.

What does your job entail?
Ideally, my job responsibilities comprise analyzing and evaluating financial data, assisting with financial planning, reporting, and budgeting processes, developing financial models, and preparing projections. Due to recent transitions within the department, the team has been chipping in where, when, and as needed.

What are the challenges of your job?
Chiefly, keeping abreast of the dynamism of the organization, both internally and externally. Internally, we receive tons of requests daily, most of which have set delivery deadlines or need a somewhat speedy turnaround. Externally, economical changes occur so rapidly and frequently that data used for projections or developing a budget today can quickly be deemed outdated by tomorrow.

What are the rewards of your job?
There are so many that time will not permit me to list them all, but I’ve narrowed it down to the top two: 1) I get to work alongside some of the most adept and proficient mentors and colleagues anyone can ask for and they are all equally good-natured and conscientious. Moreover, StoryCorps truly has an amazing organizational team: a melting pot of genuine, supportive, and creative people. 2) In Finance, we get a numerical bird’s eye view of the entire organization, including all the moving parts and how they gel together; the mission translated into figures. It is absolutely AMAZING because it provides a wealth of knowledge that extends beyond finance, with tangible and transferable skills to last a lifetime!

What is your favorite StoryCorps story?
Danny & Annie. Love in its truest, purest sense often appears very elusive and illusive. Through Danny and Annie, one gets to experience—if only for a moment—what undiluted love is: the kind of love that many spend a lifetime to find. This story is truly one of the bedrocks of
StoryCorps’ archive. An absolute must-listen!

Why do you think everyone should record a story with StoryCorps?
When life plays its hand of finality, all we are left with are memories. Memories of our childhood and loved ones. But memories, with time, are blurred and scattered. Recording a story with StoryCorps cements these memories, affording generations to come a historical outlook and an equal chance to share in the beauty of life through the experiences of others.


You’ve only got one shot at life! Live it fully! Live it completely! Live it unapologetically you!

Fireside Chat Explores Impact and Future of One Small Step

On March 8, StoryCorps Founder & President Dave Isay sat down for a virtual fireside with Dr. Peter T. Coleman, a One Small Step (OSS) advisor and professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University. Peter also directs the University’s Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, among other appointments. The purpose of the event, moderated by StoryCorps’ Strategic Adviser to the CEO Chris Norris, was to give OSS supporters an update on the initiative and a preview of where it’s headed.

Following introductions, viewers were shown a clip from the 2022 OSS “60 Minutes” segment and Dave talked about the evolution of OSS, an effort to remind the country of the humanity in all of us, even those with whom we disagree. He noted that later this year, the initiative will launch a comprehensive, self-facilitated digital tool allowing more people to experience an OSS conversation and that OSS will expand to more communities. 

Dave pointed out that many OSS participants become friends after the experience, a result he called “exhilarating,” and he showed a video clip (“audio card”) to underscore this. In the audio card, OSS participants Jerome and Warren, both from Richmond, VA, provide a recap of their conversation and the warmth between them is palatable. Jerome remarks, “You are a dear, dear friend and I can’t imagine you not being in my life …” to which Warren responds simply, …”It’s been reciprocal.”

Dave also affirmed the value of the “Brain Trust”: a group of expert advisors—composed of social scientists, researchers, and psychologists—who help guide OSS. He then introduced research conducted by Brain Trust member Tim Dixon and his organization, More in Common, which showed, among other results, that people across the political spectrum were moved by OSS content and that it increased viewers’ desire to have their own cross-partisan conversation by almost fifty percent.  

After being introduced by Dave, Peter talked about the bridge building space, observing that, “Many groups are bringing people together across the divide but oftentimes, move them prematurely into debate. One thing OSS did from the beginning was to test this and … start with people just getting to know each other and sharing stories, things they have in common …” He also commended Dave for conducting interviews across a spectrum of media outlets, explaining, “People are more receptive and open to ideas from their trusted media sources,” so messages delivered on these channels creates “high social impact.”

Before the Q&A session, Dave asked Peter to share a story illustrating how people’s preconceived notions of “the other” can be challenged when they meet up close. While conducting research during the 2001-02 Intifada—a time of increased violence and tension between Israel and Palestine—Peter relayed that many of interviewees had experienced a surprise encounter with a member from “the other side.” 

He recounted how a Palestinian woman told him that, as a child, she was playing with her friends when a Jewish man approached. She thought of him as the devil, but then he put down a plate of cookies and said they were for the children, so reluctantly, they ate them. Later, the woman remembered that moment as introducing a “crack in the certainty that the ‘other’ was bad” and it has affected how she views Jewish people ever since. Similarly, OSS brings people together in an effort to remind us that we have more in common than divides us.

The talk concluded with a Q&A session and some questions weren’t answered due to time constraints. To read Dave’s responses to some of these additional questions, click here.

Dave Isay Answers Your One Small Step Questions

Hi everyone! StoryCorps Founder & President Dave Isay here. We recently hosted a virtual fireside chat about StoryCorps’ One Small Step (OSS) initiative with Dr. Peter T. Coleman, an OSS advisor and professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University, where he also directs the University’s Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution. The purpose of the event was to provide updates and talk about our plans for the initiative moving forward. 

During our Q&A session, we received many great questions from participants that we didn’t have time to respond to, so I’ve answered some of them below. Thanks to those who submitted questions and for all of your support of OSS—we couldn’t do it without you!

Q: Thank you immensely for what you do. Is there still a chance to participate in OSS?

A: Absolutely! Anyone, anywhere can participate in OSS and be matched with a conversation partner. To apply, visit

If you live in one of our Anchor Communities or near a Radio Station Hub, you are more likely to be matched quickly, but there are many ways to participate in OSS, either while you wait to be matched or after your conversation. And later this year, we’ll be launching a new self-facilitated tool, OSS Connect, that will provide a robust set of resources to help you have a safe and meaningful conversation on your own. 

Q: I was surprised about how Jerome and Warren became personal friends. Does this friendship happen often with OSS interviews? How do we express our opinions as part of an interview assertively but with an open mind?

A: I’m gratified to say that many participants become friends and I think this is because OSS conversations are based on contact theory, which posits that people who have meaningful interactions with those who hold different beliefs, often find that they have more in common than not.

Importantly, these conversations are not about debating politics, but getting to know each other as people and our skilled facilitators guide the conversations and ensure both sides feel safe throughout the process. Within that space, there is certainly room to express your opinions and an open and curious approach is key. To hear excerpts from different OSS conversations, visit our conversation page.

Q: What cities are you headed to?

A: We will be expanding to a few more communities this summer so stay tuned for more information soon.

Q: Are the OSS conversations also going into the Library of Congress?

A: If you sign our general release form, then your conversation will be housed at our archive in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Separately, you and your interview partner can also choose your interview settings together and decide whether or not to make your interview public. You can learn more about privacy/visibility settings in the Online Archive Help Center.

Honoring Military Voices

The Military Voices Initiative provides a platform for veterans, service members, and military families to share their stories. In doing so we honor their voices, amplify their experiences, and let them know that we—as a nation—are listening.

We’ve put together a collection of stories from veterans, service members, and their loved ones to help us reflect on their lives, contributions, and sacrifices. Listen to their voices below.

Honor a veteran, service member, or military family member in your life today through StoryCorps conversation. You can record in person using the StoryCorps App, or remotely using StoryCorps Connect.

Tom’s War

After being drafted in 1969, Tom Geerdes served as an Army medic in the 11th Armored Cavalry in Vietnam and Cambodia. Like many veterans, he returned home a changed man. At StoryCorps, Tom shared his long journey toward healing with his daughter, Hannah Campbell.

The Last Viewing

In 2005, Allen Hoe’s oldest son, Nainoa, was killed in action in Iraq. Not long after on Memorial Day, he had a chance encounter with a stranger that brought them both unforeseen comfort.

“I would listen and then pray for their strength.”
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Friends During the Vietnam War Reunite Almost 50 Years After

Back in 1967, close to 500,000 US troops were serving in Vietnam, including Kay Lee and John Nordeen. Kay was 22, a combat medic from San Francisco. John was 20, and a soldier from Seattle. They were assigned to the same Army platoon and became fast friends.

"I for some reason was the one chosen for this."
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Duery Felton and Rick Weidman

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is under the supervision of the National Park Service, and when Duery Felton learned that park rangers were collecting and storing this huge collection of items, he became a volunteer in order to see them for himself. He came to StoryCorps to discuss what drew him to the wall.

“I would listen and then pray for their strength.”
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“I Took an Oath to Respond to the Needs of My Nation”

Army Major Ivan Arreguin, a military chaplain, tells his wife, Aileen, what it was like to provide medical support in New York City in April 2020, during the height of COVID-19.

"I for some reason was the one chosen for this."
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An Airline Worker Finds His Calling Honoring The Military’s Fallen

Brian McConnell, who’s been an airline worker for close to four decades, told his wife, Nora, about how he found his calling providing support to fallen service members with the Delta Honor Guard.

"He was talking about this feeling that he had that he was going to die."
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In Memory of Diego Rincon

George Rincon and Yolanda Reyes, remember their son, Army Private First Class Diego Rincon, who received U.S. citizenship after he was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2003.

1st Squad, 3rd Platoon

In 2005, Marine Lance Corporal Travis Williams and his squad went on a rescue mission in Barwanah, Iraq. He was the only member of his team to make it back home.

The Nature of War

Specialist Justin Cliburn was deployed to Iraq in 2005. While serving in Baghdad, he formed a friendship with Ali and Ahmed, two boys who lived near his compound.

“I don't see him as a symbol. In some way that takes him away from me.”
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In Memory of Army Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman

Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman was the first American soldier killed in combat during the War in Afghanistan. His brother, Keith Chapman, and his mother Lynn honor Nathan’s memory.

“Because she was Asian, they wouldn’t accept her. Mom said she didn’t care; she enlisted anyway.”
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Remembering One Tough Veteran: Lieutenant Susan Ahn Cuddy

Flip and Christine Cuddy remember their mother, Susan Ahn Cuddy, the first Asian American woman in the Navy and the first woman gunnery officer teaching air combat tactics.

Pearl Harbor, Tattooed on Your Soul

On December 7, 1941, over 2,000 people died when Japanese fighter planes attacked Pearl Harbor. On that day, Frank Curre, then a teenager, was serving aboard the U.S.S. Tennessee.

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Support for the Military Voices Initiative

The Military Voices Initiative is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Special thanks to Dignity Memorial for their sponsorship of the Military Voices Initiative broadcast on NPR in 2023.

Meet Ryan Jacobsen: A One Small Step Advocate

Since its launch in 2021, StoryCorps’ One Small Step (OSS) has brought strangers with different political beliefs together for a conversation—not to debate politics—but to get to know each other as people. Currently, the initiative is intensively focused in three Anchor Communities including the Fresno/Central Valley region. The success of OSS in each location is largely due to the advocacy of local partners and individuals who believe strongly in the OSS mission and are willing to work alongside the OSS team as advocates.

One such advocate is Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting agriculture. StoryCorps sat down with Ryan to talk about his passion for One Small Step and why he thinks the Fresno/Central Valley area is the perfect location for an Anchor Community.

How did you first become aware of OSS?

In January of last year, I saw the OSS feature on “60 Minutes” and around this same time, I also started to hear about Fresno/Central Valley being picked as one of just a handful of communities nationwide to lead OSS. My first impression was ‘this is terrific’ because we need to be able to do something to counter the hyper-partisanship in America today. 

We also had Dave [Isay, StoryCorps founder and president] here to speak to our Rotary club and afterward, I think we all felt very supportive of OSS and proud that we were chosen to lead this project.

Why do you think Fresno/Central Valley is a great choice to be an OSS Anchor Community?

This area is different from people’s perceptions of what California is. For example, we are purple — with a real mix of politicians from both sides of the aisle and a very diverse population. Historically, many different groups have come here to farm over the generations and that diversity is borne out by the fact that 59 languages are spoken by students and their families within the Fresno Unified School District. The Central Valley feeds the rest of the country with over 350 different types of crops.

You participated in an OSS conversationwhat was that experience like for you?

I want to assure anyone who is hesitant to participate in a conversation that there is nothing to worry about. The conversation process is so easy because the facilitator who leads the discussion is highly trained and makes sure you and your partner feel comfortable the whole way through. I’ve encouraged lots of people here to participate in a conversation and no one has had regrets. 

As an OSS Community Advisory Group (CAG) member, why are you continuing to support OSS?

As a member of the advisory group, I am here to be the voice of the community. I’m invested in OSS because I believe that we all have much more in common than we have differences and the current divisions in our country are not good for us. We need a better way forward and OSS is just that: one small step in the right direction.

Christopher Norris Joins StoryCorps as Strategic Adviser to the CEO

A bald Black man with a full beard wearing a navy jacket with a white button down underneath.
Christopher Norris, Strategic Adviser to the CEO.

We are pleased to announce that Christopher Norris is joining StoryCorps’ executive team as Strategic Adviser to the CEO, where he will coordinate alignment across the organization to maximize StoryCorps’ public service and revenue opportunities. Norris is known for his innovative approaches to journalism, which are deeply rooted in community engagement, and is highly regarded as a brand builder and cross-enterprise, entrepreneurial thinker.

Norris previously was Managing Editor for Community & Engagement at NPR/PBS affiliate WHYY, Philadelphia’s largest public media station, where he cultivated and managed relationships with philanthropic institutions across the region and built out a portfolio of innovative community outreach programs, including the News and Information Community Exchange (N.I.C.E.). N.I.C.E.—a mutual aid journalism collective that organizes, supports, and develops grassroots news and information creators—was nationally recognized as a Local That Works model. Norris also produced premium live events at the station, produced and hosted community conversations on WHYY TV 12, and oversaw the rebranding and rollout of a citywide civic dialogue program that brings together politically and culturally diverse households for conversation and problem-solving.

Before joining WHYY, Norris worked with a diverse group of media outlets in Philadelphia. He hosted “Wake Up With WURD,” the flagship morning broadcast for Pennsylvania’s only Black talk radio station; wrote guest opinion pieces for The Philadelphia Inquirer and served as a sociopolitical commentator at 105.3 WDAS FM, an urban adult contemporary radio station owned and operated by iHeartMedia.

In 2009, Norris founded Techbook Online, a grassroots news and information company, and scaled it to become the most active publisher on Comcast’s, a former website dedicated to local content. During his 10-year stint as CEO, Norris became the first grassroots publisher in Philadelphia to distribute original content through Apple News. He brokered a strategic partnership between Comcast and the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, resulting in the development of a digital channel to distribute mental health resources and information.

Also known as “Flood the Drummer,” Norris is a professional drummer, a voracious consumer of conservative and liberal media, a lifelong fan of pro wrestling, and an avid student of how that industry has grown audience, community, personalities, and revenue.

Norris’ official start date with StoryCorps is February 13.

Staff Spotlight: Isabella Gonzalez, Bilingual Facilitator

About Me:

I grew up in the melting pot of Miami in a big family with many personalities. Before coming to StoryCorps, I worked with several nonprofits—advocating for them while providing direct services to under-resourced communities facing housing, work, and domestic problems. 

According to my home videos, I’ve been dancing since I was in diapers, so on weekends, you can find me taking a dance class. There’s a lot to do in New York, and I usually ride my bike around: taking pictures, watching something at the IFC theater, or working on my recent ancestry project.

What is your role at StoryCorps and how long have you been with the organization?

I’m a bilingual facilitator on the National Team and have been with StoryCorps for two years. 

What does your job entail? 

As a facilitator, we wear many hats. The majority of our time is spent interacting with different communities coming in to do a StoryCorps recording. This includes preparing participants beforehand, setting up the audio equipment, managing the recording space, and archiving the materials we gather.

On the National Team, we also partner with local organizations looking to collaborate on their own storytelling project. 

What are some of the rewards of your job?

We get to be a fly on the wall, capturing and learning the different ways one can experience life.

We can offer a moment for someone to pause, reflect, and share with another, something we often don’t have the chance to do. You see how people make memories and express them, and it’s an interactive way of engaging with history.

What are some challenges of your job?

Some recordings are just emotionally charged. A recording can be a space where people have mourned, confronted difficult experiences, or shared harmful opinions. It feels like a balancing act trying to support participants and myself during these moments. It takes practice not to carry the weight of those conversations, something I’m still working on.

Why do you think everyone should record a story with StoryCorps?

Well, I believe everyone has a memory they want to preserve, and the wider you cast that net, the more diversity we add to the collection of oral history.

What is your favorite StoryCorps story?

If I had to narrow it down, the first is a conversation from our Military Voices initiative that we recorded in Honolulu, Hawaii. Kevin Kuroda and Mary Hammond came by HPR to talk about Kevin’s late uncle Robert who had fought in World War II as part of Hawaii’s 100th Battalion, liberating European villages. Decades later, a random French man found the uncle’s class ring with a metal detector around where he had died and made it his mission to return it to the Kuroda family. 

Facundo the Great cracks me up. It reminds me of the stories I grew up hearing.