Joe Unitas faced his share of challenges as lighting director on the 1968 cult classic, “Night of the Living Dead,” filmed in Evans City.

Now 81, the Peters Township resident shares a few memories of filming as part of a new video series, “Senior Memories.” The series is the project of retired Observer-Reporter photographer Jim McNutt and is being introduced today on the newspaper’s website at http://www.observer-reporter.com/seniormemories.

“We had a vast amount of people down in this farm field, and we had to use these lights,” Unitas says in the Senior Memories video. “But where’s the electricity?”

McNutt is undertaking the video project to preserve the memories of some of the people he photographed over the 46 years he worked as a photojournalist.

“My focus was on people,” McNutt said. “I heard these stories from seniors over and over again. Capturing their portraits and writing about them isn’t enough. We can’t hear their voices as they tell their stories, share their laughter, see their tears as they remember a special moment in their lives. Soon they will be gone, and what will become of their stories never recorded for posterity?”

McNutt’s goal is to capture as many memories of seniors living in Southwestern Pennsylvania as possible and is seeking people ages 60 and older to share their memories in two- to three-minute video clips. Participants must be able to share on camera a specific relatable memory of an event. In addition, they must be able to provide two to four photographs of himself or herself around the time of the story for the video.

The project is being supported by Washington County Aging Services and Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging. In an effort to encourage seniors to join the project, McNutt is traveling to senior centers throughout the area and presenting a sampling of his videos.

The videos will be combined into sets of “Senior Memories” on DVDs. Complete sets will be distributed to local libraries in the WAGGIN Library Network with the assistance and support of Peters Township Library. Other sets will be distributed to participating senior centers. The video stories will continue to be uploaded to the Observer-Reporter’s website as well as YouTube.

Veterans will be included in a simultaneous parallel Senior Memories project that will focus on their military service. Their stories will be combined into separate DVDs with distribution to participating veterans organizations.

McNutt is seeking funding to help underwrite the Senior Memories project and is submitting grant proposals to help underwrite costs associated with the project, including storage and digital equipment.

“I want to carry on for the new generation to see what the previous generation went through and how they lived,” he said.

To participate or for more information, contact McNutt at 724-747-1300.

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