I headed out to Vietnam, arriving in DaNang on September 5, 1968, and did not return home until April 7, 1970. One of my best friends, Dennis, was to be discharged in about two weeks and we were looking forward to celebrating life back home together. Instead, when I arrived home, I was informed that Dennis was killed in action on April 5, 1970, only 2.5 hours south of the base I just left…..simply unbelievable. Dennis’s baby boy would never see his father and his wife would never see him alive again.
That was truly a point in time when I can say that this vision got its roots. I was sick with grief that this baby boy would never get to hear his Daddy’s voice, play ball, wrestle, or do any of the things little boys desire and need.
Fast forward to August 6, 2011, when I received a text from a Navy SEAL who is like a son to me. I could tell something was terribly wrong. I called him and learned that one of his best friends, a mentor and Navy SEAL Team 6 member was among several SEALS who were killed in Afghanistan when their Chinook (call sign Extortion 17 – One Seven) was shot down, killing all thirty men on that chopper. Lou left a wife and two little boys, 7 and 9, behind…..but something else he left behind cemented in my mind the power behind this vision that started years before. Lou had a fellow Team member film a video of him that was to be sent to his wife and boys IF he was killed in action. August 6, 2011, marked that day. At Lou’s funeral, his wife played the video messages for all to see and there was not a dry eye in the place.
Finally, on August 26, 2021, our whole nation watched in horror as 12 Marines and 1 Navy Corpsman were killed in Afghanistan and their loved ones would be left in shock with no chance to say goodbye. I then knew this vision had to move forward.
This vision cannot and will not stop brave men and women from being killed while serving in hostile theaters, but there is something it can do. This vision will produce an Archival Video Technology Platform that will enable all who serve to produce a video, or multiple videos for those closest to them, and archive them in a secure storage facility to be disbursed on specific dates in the future so their voices, personalities, words, and legacies will live in the hearts and minds of those left behind.
It is my privilege to team with some incredibly special people including my co-founders Devon Blake and James Donley. Devon is incredibly bright and retired as a post brigade command Colonel after 24 years active duty. James Donley is an exceptionally talented designer, software engineer and musician. Both of my friends live and breathe love for those who serve this great nation. With the addition of some other key folks, this vision is on its way to reality. Everyone who loves our military will get a chance to “help” through a Crowdsource Funding Event entitled, “Preserving a Legacy!” So many of our great citizens will become vital team members in securing this vision.
Thank you SO VERY MUCH!
Growing up I never understood or appreciated the risks and sacrifices my Dad took to serve our country. Serving as a marine deployed in combat situations, as a police officer in Philadelphia and then as a firefighter, his life was on the line in one way or another my entire life.
What if one day; instead of him coming home to distract me from working on homework or beginning his regular lawn care regimen, we were met with strangers, or a phone call with news that could change our family forever.
He never shared details, never wanted to burden us with the fears or worries of the realities he faced every day. It’s only been recently, 25 years later, he’s begun to share stories of boot camp, training, deployment, travels, and the tragic loss of friends.
Today, this reality is shared by so many families and friends of those serving our country overseas. Some are aware, and others like I was, unaware of the risk and sacrifices being made for each one of them. Memoires and voices that may never make it home.
With this in mind, the mission TimeCapsules was born and each element of the application developed. Myself, Sandy Wheeler, and Devon Blake have a goal of preserving the voices of those serving overseas and putting their lives on the line for our country. It can never replace the joys and experiences of having our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and other family members with us in our lives, but it can allow them to, in a way, remain with us and encourage and guide us at important events in our lives.
I am excited to invite you to partner with us to get this application in the hands of our first round of deployed personnel and enable its continued development and give those who risk so much, peace of mind that their voice and their legacy will be heard by their loved ones and future generations.
As a young soldier and newlywed, in 1999 I boarded a C-130 out of Fort Benning, Georgia, with Bosnia as the ultimate destination. I left behind a letter to my husband that I prayed he would never have to open; fortunately, he returned the letter to me unopened. Fast forward to a deployment to Afghanistan, and now as the mother of four young children, I wrote five letters that I prayed would never have to be opened.
Before each deployment we took family photos to keep in the kids' rooms, and I asked them not to be angry with anyone if I never made it home. I was the blessed one that made it back, each and every time I was asked to get on a plane and serve where the military needed me most. An unfortunate number of those serving alongside me never did make it back, and some of them never wrote their letters.
When COVID ravished our country in 2020, and so many families and friends were unable to say goodbye, the vision to develop an integrated app to capture the voices, the faces, and the sentiments of our loved ones came into sight. Just as a service member's letter would be opened only upon their death notification, the vision for the app was the letter embodied in a video.
In January of 2021, Sandy Wheeler and I were introduced by a mutual friend that heard both of our visions and who recognized the value of teaming together. With the added talent of our tech lead, James Donley, TimeCapsulesApp was born.
Support the Timecapsules app
Sandy Wheeler | Founders Videos
Sandy Wheeler talks about his mission and vision for TimeCapsules.
James Donley | Founders Videos
James Donley talks about his mission and vision for TimeCapsules.
Devon Blake | Founders Videos
Devon Blake talks about her mission and vision for TimeCapsules.
Example Deployment Videos
Video For His Wife | Jeff “Bram” Bramstet Example TimeCapsules’ Deployment
Video For His Kids | Jeff “Bram” Bramstet Example TimeCapsules’ Deployment