With our country celebrating the adaptation of the Declaration of Independence today, we look back on one of our projects we filmed earlier this year. We were commissioned by the Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism (NEOPAT) to produce two films shown at their annual gala in March. Our storytelling journey took us down I-71 on two separate occasions.

Near Columbus, we filmed the parents of Army SPC, Nicholaus E. Zimmer, who was the Charles Kirby Wilcox Honoree for the evening. We heard stories from his parents, Lisa and Gino, about his uniqueness, sense of humor, and willingness to join the Army at such a young age. Their son's memory still lives on through a non-profit, Ohio Flags of Honor, in memory of Nicholaus and others who have fallen in battle. Weeks later, we traveled to Mason, minutes from Kings Island, to film and interview Marine Ron Potter, who fought in the second Battle of Fallujah in 2004. Potter recited his journey from when he first enlisted to the moment he found out he was receiving a Purple Heart at the Gala. It was interesting to hear how reconnecting his military roots at a reunion led to him volunteering with Reunite The Fight, a non-profit that brings veterans together to create camaraderie through different experiences to fight PTSD and other common mental issues.

As we celebrate with pool parties, barbecues, and fireworks, we also should not forget why we are celebrating every July 4th. The people who fight for our country daily are one of the reasons why we can hold such activities. So as we hang out with family and friends with a beer in our hands, let's also raise a toast to those who serve.

Special thanks to the staff and board of NEOPAT for letting us embark on this journey, and to the Potter and Zimmer Families for letting us into their lives.

For more information about the organization and to read more about these stories, go to NEOPAT.org