Connecting with Mike & Charlene in Florida

May 23, 2014 – Mount Dora, Florida: I had dinner with Mike and Charlene this week. It was great to re-connect with them. They both view life as an exciting adventure and each has a playful spark in their eye. It hasn’t always been like that for Mike. Both are amazing in how they are each dedicated to being a contribution to service men and women who have returned from war and need help assimilating back into their civilian lives. From simply assisting these people in understanding that their feelings and experiences of re-entry are valid and normal to getting some into desperately needed therapy or treatment through conversations or even powerfully loving interventions; making sure, one by one, these returning Vets are heard and cared for.

Just barely 18 years old, Mike went to Vietnam in 1965, serving his tour of duty as a door gunner on a medi-vac helicopter; embarking on a life long journey to hell and back.

Through sharing his story, Mike Pergola has helped save lives and families. With the support of his wife, Charlene Edwards, author of the award-winning book, Voices From Vietnam, both Mike and Charlene continue to make a difference for people who so often feel lost and forgotten or shunned by our society. Through Mike’s sharing, he contributes to his own resilience and positive experience of life, something he didn’t view as possible 25 years ago. Through sharing his story, Mike helps heal others while he continues to heal himself. Our stories are our most profound gift.

Michael Pergola

― photo by Charlene Edwards

This Memorial Day, take the time to hug and thank a Vet. Honor them by listening to their story. Really listen. Take a bold next step and request to capture and share their story using StoryCatcher® for iPhone, you’ll be surprised at the grateful and positive responses you’ll receive from those ready to do so. Share the link to their clip in the comments section below. Through embarking on this collective sharing, together, we can offer healing, understanding and support for other Vets and their families. They’ve sacrificed far more than most of us can even begin to fathom.

Interview Questions to Ask a Veteran:

  • When did you go to war? What was it like?
  • How did war change you?
  • During your service, can you recall times when you were afraid?
  • What are your strongest memories from your time in the military?
  • What lessons did you learn from this time in your life?

Questions courtesy of

Learn More About the Book

Through powerful personal narratives and photographs, Voices From Vietnam revisits the emotions and experiences that have defined the lives of the men, women and children affected by this war ― American and Vietnamese ― on the battlefront and at home. It relays how extraordinary men and women who still carry with them the visible ― and more often invisible ― scars of war have sought to overcome the horrors of this experience and how it has transformed their lives.

Photo-journalist, Charlene Edwards, is the author of the award-winning book, Voices From Vietnam. Click on the image to order a copy of this powerful award-winning book, Voices From Vietnam.

Download StoryCatcher® On The Apple App Store

Easily create and share personal video stories. Your privacy is number one with us. Once you download the app, you have 100% control over your media and data!

My Life in Paragaphs Card Deck

My Life in Paragraphs Card Deck

Provocative Story Prompts

StoryCatcher® comes with great story prompts already loaded inside the app. Simply tap on “Interview Tips.” If you’re wanting to go deeper, our “My Life in Paragarphs” card deck is the perfect compliment.  Get your cards now.

Live & Online Retreats

Join April Bell in engaging retreat experiences to discover your legacy stories, one paragraph at a time. Learn More about My Life in Paragraphs.



Legacy Storyteller | Personal Historian

April Bell has been capturing people’s life stories and wisdom on video in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the United States since 2008. Her work has been written about in The New York Times. She is the co-creator of StoryCatcher® for iOS.

Learn more about her legacy storytelling work at

“StoryCatcher® is a wonderful development in the evolution of how we record, structure, and save [video] histories.”

Liz Massey, Professional Oral Historian

"StoryCatcher® is more than a home movie and more than just a slide show. This app allows you to showcase small pieces of your ... life in high quality videos without having to know any of the skills of a video editor!"

Shannon Combs Bennet, The In-depth Genealogist

"Even iPhone apps are being used to create ethical wills. April Bell, who owns a video storytelling business called Tree of Life Legacies, codeveloped the ethical will app StoryCatcher® for iPhone use."

The New York Times, Story: Ethical Wills In The Tech Age