By Tom Evans, Contributing Editor
Ashley Durham was a sophomore at Cactus Shadows High School when she met a man by the name of Frank Lambert.
On the surface, you wouldn't think they would click. After all, what would a 14-year-old high school student have to talk about with a Vietnam War veteran? But their interaction would open up worlds for both of them - an old world one of them had almost forgotten about, and a new world for the other that would provide an entirely new perspective on life.
Durham and Lambert had agreed to become part of the Veterans Heritage Project when they were introduced in 2010. The project was created with several goals in mind. The primary one was to provide students with an opportunity to interact with military veterans, document their stories and learn from their experiences. It was started by a teacher named Barbara Hatch as a way to enrich the students' learning and broaden their interpersonal skills, and morphed into a nonprofit in 2009.