HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Keith Sherman uses his camera gear to record stories of fallen service members. He’s set up his lights, microphones and tripod in living rooms across the United States.
"It's all heart for me. The whole trip is all heart," he said.
For the past year, the retired Navy veteran has visited Gold Star families in nearly every state, interviewing relatives of troops who deployed and didn’t make it home.
They are emotional interviews of life and death, grief and healing.
"It's hard to look a family in the eye and hear the innermost recesses of their soul and their spirit, and have them pour that out to you," he said.
On Tuesday, he met with McKenna Panui-Scobie in her Kaneohe home.
Display cases hold photographs, medals, and other reminders of her husband, Drew, who was killed in 2014 while serving with the National Guard in Afghanistan.
“The process of grief, there’s no time limit. Just speaking about him more and more definitely helps,” she said.
Sherman has interviewed more than 50 families and cried nearly every time.
He believes in the motive behind his mission.
"Their sacrifice and their pain and their grief and their loss was not in vain," he said.
His recorded stories of heroes like Scobie will go to the National Archive in the Library of Congress.
Panui-Scobie says someday it will mean a lot to her children.
“There’s a place they can go and look at dad ― the story,” she said.
Sherman, 46, served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years. He also bears the emotional scars of war.
"With every family the loving kindness that has been shown to me has been soothing for my soul and helped me," he said.
Sherman uses his retirement pay to fund the project. On the mainland, he drives from state to state and sleeps in campgrounds.
He carries a map of the United States that’s signed by the families he interviews. Hawaii makes 49 states. Massachusetts is his final stop.
On November 1, the Library of Congress receives his work that will be added to the National Archive.