“Whenever my husband goes away, any voicemails that I get, and messages that I get, I save everything. I save the emails, I save it all,” says Claire Denton, who’s husband is in the military. Like many in her position, she and her two children cherish hearing his voice. “So many spouses are away, moms and dads are away. And their children are growing up without having that connection with them,” Denton says. Claire participated in a focus group for a new company based in Exeter, NH called Remembered Voices. It is a service that allows you to make a voice recording, telling a story, leaving a message, whatever you like, and then you or your loved ones can access the recording by phone or the company’s website anytime. The file is stored for up to five years, and can be renewed to be stored for longer. She started using the service to communicate with her husband when he was away. “If say he’s got a 12 hour time difference, and the kids are in bed, he can’t call and hear their voices. But this way, anytime he needs that access, he can have it and anytime I miss him, and I feel I need to be connected with him, I can call up and hear his messages,” Denton says.
Al Brandano is the founder of Remembered voices, and says he started his companies to give families a way to stay connected and even preserve the memory of different generations. He feels that rather than rely on storing voicemails on our answering machine, or old home movies, this is a way people can have access ay any time to those important messages. “The amazing part is that now you can hear Grandma’s meatball recipe in her voice, and it goes through the whole family. What they do is they create this verbal family tree,” Brandano says.
Claire has used it to record her daughter reading, her son telling a joke, and to tell her husband a story about the kids when he’s away. Its something she felt could be a real gift to other military families, so she had a proposition. “I challenged Remembered Voices to give as many gift cards as they possibly could to our servicemen and women. Because they truly deserve that because that connection with their families is so important when they’re serving our country,” Denton says. A Remembered Voices gift card cost $50 dollars and includes 5 hours of combined listening and recording time. Rick Middleton is the head of the Boston Bruins Alumni, and got his organization to donate money to help get the soldiers these cards. “We bought some of the cards, not the only company or organization that did it, in order to get 500 cards into the soldiers’ hands. And that’s what they did,” Middleton says. Remembered Voices gave out the cards to soldiers, through the Pease Greeters, a group that comes out to welcome troops from Iraq and Afghanistan coming through Pease International Airport in Portsmouth. Now, Remembered Voices is taking part in the verteran’s history project, helping to capture veterans’ wartime experience, in conjunction with the Library of Congress.