CEO Passions: Collecting War Stories
Seven years ago, Tom Beaty began interviewing World War II veterans and videotaping their stories. One veteran walked into a minefield in Italy to rescue friends; another witnessed a sword attack by a Japanese soldier; others crossed the Rhine under enemy fire. The recordings formed the basis of Beaty's nonprofit organization, Witness to War (witness-to-war.org), which is dedicated to preserving stories of veterans, including the World War II vets pictured here. Beaty's interest in oral history began at the University of North Carolina, where he studied military history as an undergrad. He started Witness to War in 2002 -- the same year he launched his business, Insight Sourcing Group, in Norcross, Georgia. Starting two ventures at once often proved hectic, but the interviews provided an escape. "These stories highlight the randomness of war, the constant violence," says Beaty. "Yet a million people have gone through that and survived. How amazing is that compared to my daily life?"