BERTHOUD, Colo. (KDVR) — It doesn’t take much — just an inexpensive camcorder and a notepad. That’s all Brad Hoopes of Loveland needs to document the life stories of Colorado veterans.

For two decades, Hoopes has been preserving the stories of local heroes and donating the recordings to the Library of Congress as part of its Veterans History Project.

“I thought, well, why not try to do something on the local level to feed the program? So I went out and bought a video camera and just started interviewing veterans,” Hoopes told FOX31.

A few days ago, he set up his tripod and started asking Stephen Mulvihill about his life. Mulvihill lives in Berthoud and served in Vietnam. He said his wartime experience plays on repeat in his memory, almost all the time.

“The way I explain it, it’s like a movie going in the background, and something will occur, it can be anything. I mean, a real simple thing for people maybe to understand, is a helicopter. The sound of a helicopter” — Mulvihill pauses, choking back tears — “just immediately throws me back.”

It’s because of those emotions, and the raw and real experience shared by the veterans, that Hoopes is so dedicated to the project. He’s already preserved the stories of 600 Colorado veterans, and he shares them on his Remember and Honor YouTube channel. It’s a passion born of respect for those who served, even though Hoopes was not in the military.

“That’s one regret that I have is that I never served,” Hoopes said.

Stephen Mulvihill of Berthoud, Colo., is videotaped by historian Brad Hoopes. Hoopes has recorded the first-hand accounts of 600 Colorado veterans over the last 20 years as part of a project in conjunction with the Library of Congress. (KDVR)

Hero of the Month

But he’s serving the Colorado military community by sharing their heroic stories. And that’s why he’s been named the FOX31 Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month. Along with a plaque, he received a $500 Visa gift card from our Serving Those Who Serve sponsors at Ford, Adaptive Adventures and the Leo Hill Charitable Trust.

He’s undertaken a seemingly never-ending task: recording the history of any and every veteran he comes in contact with. And it’s a challenge he’s more than willing to tackle.

“I don’t care if you stormed the beaches or peeled potatoes the whole time. I think any veteran deserves to have their story told,” Hoopes said.

To nominate a veteran, active-duty service member or military volunteer for our Hero of the Month honors, visit the nomination page.