Laoise O'Driscoll, a recent graduate of Clayton State University, is collaborating with the Buckhead Bomber Girls to help to raise funds for the National Museum of the Mighty 8th
Air Force, located in Pooler, Ga., in a unique way.
One of the projects to help raise funds for the museum this year is the creation of an 18-month calendar for 2014/15 by the Buckhead Bomber Girls, a local group of women volunteers who are committed to preserving the stories of our WWII heroes. The calendars are being made to honor the heroes of the “Greatest Generation” and each month will feature the daughter or granddaughter of a World War II, Vietnam, or Korean veteran wearing his bomber jacket and highlighting the jackets' elaborate artwork.
O’Driscoll, originally from Ireland and formerly a star on the ClaytonState women’s soccer team, graduated in July 2013 with a Masters in Healthcare Administration from ClaytonState. She has been appointed project manager for the fundraising event.
“I correspond with all the models who apply as well as processing all the applications,” she explains. “I help the project director with seeking out corporate sponsorship and I serve as a point of contact for the photographers and other crew members. I also get the chance to go out on set every now and again to meet the models and families.”
The models are required to fill out an application forum on the online fundraising page for the calendar project. Questions asked on the application include the veteran’s branch, rank, unit, description of service, years served and awards along with any additional quote or comment from the applicant about the veteran. O’Driscoll says, “applicants have put in little anecdotes about their veteran or comments he has made about the war. Some very powerful stuff has been said.”
Each photograph in the calendar will include a vibrant image of the veteran and/or his daughter or granddaughter with a riveting narrative telling a story of heroism and character for that month. The Buckhead Bomber Girls hope that these calendars and the professional, powerful, and meaningful photos displayed within them will evoke emotion and most importantly, honor the respective veterans. The group’s plan is to release the calendar on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which is June 6, 2014.
“Our plan is to recognize gallant true American heroes,” says O’Driscoll. All of the proceeds for the calendars go to the NationalMuseum of the Mighty 8th
O’Driscoll has really enjoyed working on this project and meeting the veterans and their families.
“Coming from a country where we don’t necessarily have many major wartime veterans, it’s been a very humbling experience,” she says. “I got the opportunity to meet many Vietnam, Korean and World War II veterans and their families. What they sacrificed willingly to protect this country, their stories and names, are something that should be recognized, preserved and honored. And to see what it means to the families is an amazing feeling.”
O’Driscoll never realized how involved she would be in the Buckhead Bomber Girls project. She initially thought that helping with this project would look great on a resume, but didn’t know how attached she would become to the project. She said that this calendar project is one of the most humbling and rewarding experiences she has ever been a part of.
“I did not realize initially what I was getting myself into or what this project would mean to the people involved,” she explains. “But what these men went through, what they put on the line for their loved ones and for their country, willingly may I add, is nothing short of heroic. Many people just have the memory of their father or grandfather to hold on to and having had the chance to meet the families and speak with them, the way they speak about their veteran is so heartwarming and proud. To see how much it means to them is the only thanks one can ever need.
“Even though I am not from this great land I like to think that I can equally appreciate what these brave men did for their families, for their country and for the world.”