Man tracks down families of NM Vietnam veterans

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – In the days before Skype and email, soldiers rarely got to see their families while deployed.

But, an Albuquerque man has dug up rare film that families sent to New Mexico airmen fighting in the Vietnam War in 1968.

Now, he wants to return those memories to more than 200 families.

In 1968 Sheri Maloy was 9 years old. Forty-five years later she remembers making that film for her dad, Don Day.

They were just one of 269 families lined up at Kirtland Air Force Base to make a holiday greeting.

The films were then sent to New Mexico Air National guardsmen stationed at Tuy Hoa Air Base in Vietnam.

Art Sena was one of those airmen.

Back in 2008, KRQE told you how he worked with the air guard to track down the old videos in storage.

“It meant a lot to me because my grandparents raised me and they have since passed away,” Sena said.

Sena has spent the past four and a half years looking for funding and a way to transfer the 16 millimeter films to DVD.

A private donor came through and Rolling R Productions in Albuquerque converted the films.

“Color correct it, correct any sound issues and it looks pretty much like you see now. Looks just fantastic,” said Rhoda Weill of Rolling R Productions.

Rhoda Weill’s brother was killed in Vietnam. She watched all the greetings as she converted the films.

“It’s just fun to watch, all the clothes and the hair and some of the funny things they said,” Weill said.

Maloy’s husband heard about the project and got a DVD for her, a gift she says is priceless.

Her father is now gone and her mother now has Alzheimer’s.

“What goes through my mind is actually when I see my mom. Just hearing her talk and seeing how pretty she looked,” Maloy said.

Sena has only found 20 of the families seen in the films he wants to find the rest so they can get a piece of their family history.

“It just meant so much to me to have my family message and I know it was important for other families to have that,” Sena said.

Click here for a complete list of the airmen whose families filmed messages for them.

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