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  • Writer's pictureSusan Reetz

Documentary Teamwork=Success

It's always so satisfying when a documentary project that has been in progress for three years approaches the fine edit stage. There are still some funds to raise and tweaks to make to the film, Honor in the Air, but it is wonderful to be here, in this spot, and look back on all the team effort that went in to this project, and all the people who helped make it a success.

Of course the Alwin family have been phenomenal. From Captain Alwin's widow and their children to each of Scott's siblings and many of their offspring, we say a heartfelt thank you.

To each and every person who made a contribution to the budget, we wouldn't be here without you. Whether you donated $5.00 or $5,000.00, your generosity made this project possible. But it's not too late to help. Go to our homepage at and choose a donation option to help us reach our funding goal and that the film will have as many showings as possible.

To the staff at the National Archives, Wisconsin Veterans Museum and the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives (and other researchers who offered time saving tips), we so greatly appreciate your efforts to preserve our history and the patient assistance your provided us.

The Veterans, family members, family friends and Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum who shared their insights and expertise with us on and off camera, your words bring this story to life.

PBS Wisconsin allowed us to use historical footage that they acquired for a previous project, and it made all the difference in our film, illustrating what conditions were like for military personnel during the Vietnam War. Add to that archival photos and documents, along with the footage lent to us by Frans VandenBroek who served with Captain Alwin, and we had all we could want.

Of course, it takes a team to bring a production like this to viewers. My co-producer, Pamela Alwin Fullerton was instrumental in collecting archival material and connecting with Veteran and school groups as well as sifting through interview transcripts to help construct the script. Pamela and her sister, Penny Alwin Kleinhans, have done innumerable presentations all over Wisconsin and beyond to help get the word out about our efforts. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise, and thanks to all the groups who invited us to share about Scott and our project!

Brian Alberth, David Reiling, Don Byrne and Travis Richey beautifully filmed our interviews. Tim Olsen served as assistant camera and boom mic operator on an interview with six of the Alwin siblings. My husband, Clark Reetz, helped as a production assistant, sounding board and second pair of eyes on multiple occasions. My dear friend, Irene MacFarland, donated her time to help me at the State Historical Archives. Brett Huus composed the beautiful music you'll hear throughout the film. Bryan Piepenburg transferred slides, scanned photos, retouched some old photos and recorded voice overs. Pamela Alwin Fullerton, Sean Alwin and Travis Richey lent their voices for narration. Pamela and Penny are working on additional resources for educators who choose to use the film with their students. Deanie Harris has done a magnificent job of engaging our audience through social media and created fundraising strategies throughout the project.

Don Byrne has done a masterful job of taking all of our disparate pieces from so many sources and assembling them into a powerful and evocative film, blending audio and visual components beautifully. And our development/engagement team - Deanie Harris, Pamela, Penny and Travis - thank you for your tireless efforts to secure the production funds we needed and amplify our message.

Finally, thanks to our project fiscal receiver. If you're an independent producer looking for a 501c3 nonprofit to collaborate with, please check out Film Green Bay, Inc.

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