As a wave of Veterans Affairs Office closures occurred across Canada, a man in Nova Scotia came up with a way he hoped would bring a voice to the veterans’ fight to reopen them. Over 14 months Charlie Morrison took photos and interviewed veterans about their experiences, amassing material to display in a public exhibition. That was when disaster struck. The digital voice recorder device Charlie had been using began to malfunction and give an error when trying to play back recordings. Redoing hours and hours of recorded interviews was not ideal as they contained heartfelt and sometimes painful insights from veterans about their service and the challenges of returning to civilian life. Seeking tech support for the device was the next option.

Upon contacting the manufacturer of the recorder Charlie was told it was likely a memory issue, probably corruption or something to trigger an error. While they did not have the recovery capability to help it was recommended that maybe a recovery expert could assist. Charlie reached out to CBL in hopes that the lost data and memories could be retrieved. CBL needed to analyze the device to see if the recordings were still existent and then determine what recovery techniques could be applied. Evaluation indicated that the memory appeared undamaged and intact. Some careful electronics repair and circuitry work was then performed to gain access to the storage banks. To Charlie’s great relief the data of the recordings was accessible and could be downloaded!

While manufacturer support offered limited repair options, CBL’s process to evaluate each segment of the device determining that the data was intact but suffering electronic failure allowed for a successful recovery.

Charlie completed work on the his project and it was displayed in an exhibition of photos and stories during Summer 2015. After a long fight, the veterans around the country were successful in getting offices reopened! This project was part of the larger fight. Charlie evolved the project towards further documentation later calling it “First Hand Accounts: Every Veteran has a story to tell”.

Check out some photos of the exhibition in the gallery!

Here is a feature story from CTV Atlantic, “Fighting office closures”:

More about the Since Their Service photo project: