Army Residence Community Honors World War II Veterans Still Living Today
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Posted by: Julianna Ems
On Sunday, May 26, the Army Residence Community in San Antonio opened a permanent exhibit, "Before They’re Gone: Portraits & Stories of World War II Veterans” by photographer D. Clarke Evans. The exhibit honors 23 Veterans living in the military retirement community today, and 5 that have passed since the project began.
Photographed by D. Clarke Evans; Pictured: Sterling Johnson.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs there were 496,777 World War II Veterans still living in Sept. 2018, but they are dying at a rate of 348 per day.
“With so few WWII Veterans still living, we are very fortunate and honored to have 23 of them still living in our community,” said Steve Fuller, CEO of the Army Residence Community. “This exhibit is our way of preserving their stories and our nation’s history. Photographer D. Clarke Evans did an amazing job capturing the strength and character of each Veteran in his images.”
Photographed by D. Clarke Evans.
Two years in the making, the exhibit features a professional portrait of each Veteran – an image that captures them in their life today, far removed from the War and the experiences that shaped them. The portrait is accompanied by their own story in their own words, along with an image of the Veteran while on active duty during the War.
The Army Residence Community project began in May 2017, when photographer D. Clarke Evans came to the military retirement community to ask permission to photograph and interview WWII Veterans for his project. It gave the Army Residence Community the idea that they needed their own permanent exhibit to honor all WWII Veterans living in their community. The Veterans agreed and Mr. Evans began his work of meeting, interviewing and photographing each Veteran – getting to know each one on a personal level.
Photographed by D. Clarke Evans.
After retiring from his position as the team photographer for NBA basketball team, the San Antonio Spurs – a position he held for 25 years – Clarke decided to embark on this new project. As the son of a WWII Veteran and a former Marine himself, this was a subject that was very near and dear to his heart.
“I am often asked what inspired me to begin this project and my answer is simple – the Veterans,” said D. Clarke Evans. “I am inspired to do this until I am physically unable.”
Mr. Evans is a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography and holds a Master of Arts degree in Museum Science from Texas Tech University. He is President Emeritus of the Texas Photographic Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to fine art photography.
The Army Residence Community is a nonprofit Life Plan Community for retired U.S. military officers, their spouses, widows and widowers. Throughout its history, the ARC has continually evolved and grown to meet the needs of, and improve the quality of life of its residents. The ARC is located on 150 acres in Northeast San Antonio – near Joint Base San Antonio and San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC). The community currently serves 700 residents in Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Memory Care.
Grace Newton, Director of Communications, Army Residence Community