Mr. Don Obrist has been working with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program since 2011, primarily on the Veterans History Project, with Ann Smith and a talented group of volunteers who hail from all walks of life. Don has interviewed military veterans from a broad range of eras, including World War II, Korea, and Vietnam-era service members.
Ann Smith, the coordinator of SPOHP’s Veterans’ Project, gives Don a large amount of the credit for the remarkable success of VHP’s interview work in the area of military and civilian service histories. In recent years, nearly 200 such interviews have been gathered and processed. “Don’s skills as an interviewer, his sense of humility and professionalism as well as his friendliness have opened many doors for UF Oral History in the veterans’ community,” said Smith.
SPOHP has always had a special mission in preserving the narratives of military veterans. Our founder, Samuel Proctor, was a WWII veteran who always emphasized the importance of using veterans’ narratives to teach students about the values of service and commitment in a cause greater than themselves. Don’s initiative and dedication allow us to continue working in the tradition that Sam Proctor started at the University of Florida.
Don moved to Gainesville after retiring from a 38-year career in consumer product sales in Syracuse, New York. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s graduate business program and served six years in the New York Army National Guard 42nd Rainbow Division.
Please join us in thanking Mr. Don Obrist for his outstanding volunteer service to the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program!