If you’d like to attend one of our monthly breakfasts, join us on a day trip, volunteer, or talk to us about recording a veteran’s oral history.
Contact: Todd DePastino, exective director
Write: 200 Magnolia Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15228
Website: The Veterans Breakfast Club
Facebook: The Veterans Breakfast Club
The mission of the Veterans Breakfast Club is to create communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure that this living history will never be forgotten. We believe that through our work, people will be educated, healed, and inspired.
The Veterans Breakfast Club is a non-religious, non-political 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
- To create communities of listening around veterans and their stories.
- To promote veteran storytelling programs.
- To capture, preserve, and share veterans’ stories for future generations.
- To raise public awareness about the veteran experience.
The seed for the Veterans Breakfast Club was planted in November 2007, when Dan Cavanaugh, a co-founder of the VBC, volunteered as a bus captain on trips that take veterans to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Dan’s father was a World War II veteran who, toward the end of his life, opened up to his son about his experiences of war. Finding much wisdom in the stories he heard on the bus, Dan hit upon the idea of hosting breakfasts where veterans could gather and share their stories with each other and anyone else who cared to listen.
When Todd DePastino, a professor and writer of history, took an interest in Dan’s project, the two of them founded a non-profit organization to host their storytelling events. Word spread, and more veterans flocked to the monthly breakfasts, anxious to tell their stories and bond with others who served their country, many of whom experienced the emotional trauma of war.
By 2010, the VBC had expanded to monthly events in four locations. As many as 200 attended the South Hills breakfast, and attendance at the other locations –Penn Hills, Moon Township, and North Hills – was rapidly increasing. In 2010, Dan Cavanaugh was nominated as a finalist for the Post-Gazette Community Champions Award for his work with the VBC.
In 2011, the VBC received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and expanded its programs to include region-wide events, such as the Veterans Day breakfast at Duquesne University which drew 600 attendees, and a special VBC trip to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.
By early 2012, the VBC began recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of local veterans. Todd DePastino teamed up Kevin Farkas of the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative, and together they’ve conducted and recorded hundreds of long-form oral history interviews and live storytelling events.
Expanding to more than fifteen locations throughout Western Pennsylvania by 2015, the Veterans Breakfast Club currently hosts 30-40 storytelling events a year. In addition to the breakfasts, VBC publishes Veteran Voices: The Magazine of The Veterans Breakfast Club and co-hosts “Veteran Voices: The Podcast,” a monthly Internet broadcast discussing news, current events, and topical discussions with authors, filmmakers, artists, historians, and other storytellers of the veteran experience.
|Ray Amelio (President)
Ben Stahl (Vice President)
Michelle Zmijanac (Secretary)
Amber Spells (Treasurer)
Rocky Bleier (Honorary)
Dana Del Bianco
|Director of Multimedia
Storytelling Project Director
VBC in the News
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Veterans event highlights contributions of 2 black women
- Point Park University: Students Inspired by Stories from Veterans and Koream War Survivor Ock Soon Lee
- Sixth Grade Students Learn From Veterans Over Breakfast
- WTAJ-TV (Johnstown, Pa): Veterans Storytelling Program
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Veterans Breakfast Club allows vets to connect, share experiences
- The Herald: Local veterans invited to share their stories
- Into Pittsburgh: Todd DePastino
- WWCP TV: Veterans Breakfast Held in Johnstown
- WTAJ TV: Veterans share war stories
- Veterans group plans July 4 event, agrees to honor six
- Bringing the community into the classroom
- TribLive: Fayette veterans recall wartime Christmas memories
- Bridgeville Historical Society focuses on the “Home Front with Todd DePastino
- Kevin Farkas, VBC director of multimedia, receives 2015 WQED/Dominion VITA Award
- CBS News Pittsburgh: 9/11 Anniversary Marked With Observances
- TribTotalMedia: Photographs of the VBC – Sept. 11, 2015
- The Almanac: 9/11 meeting of Veterans Breakfast Club at 911th Airlift Wing
- Mt. Lebanon Magazine: Finish Lines
- WESA Celebrates: The Veterans Breakfast Club
- The Almanac: South Fayette student makes it his mission to thank veterans
- TribTotalMedia: A&E notebook: ‘Voices’ event to include D-Day veterans’ stories
- Post-Gazette: Every day is Memorial Day: Combat veterans always keep in mind the comrades who didn’t come home
- Post-Gazette: Veterans club, history center team up to preserve memories
- TribTotalMedia: Western Pa. veterans from World War II step up to share tales
- Veterans share their stories at Breakfast Club
- Heinz History Center to house archive of veterans’ oral histories
- Veterans’ memories: some colorful, others haunting and vivid
- Veterans Breakfast Club whets appetites for wartime stories
- Veterans’ stories
- Breakfast club allows veteran stories to shape tomorrow
- Veterans Breakfast Club on KDKA’s Pittsburgh Today Live
- ‘Out of the Foxhole’ event helps civilians learn of, appreciate veterans’ sacrifice, devotion, patriotism
- Veterans Breakfast Appoints Director of Post 9/11 Storytelling Project
- Veterans Breakfast Club Appoints Director of Multimedia
Go to the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative press center.
The public is invited to download, reproduce, and share our stories and images in accordance with our Creative Commons License.
All content on this site and elsewhere produced by the Veterans Breakfast Club and/or the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative is protected by copyright law. Such content is not in the public domain and may hold additional copyright restrictions to those listed herein.
CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE
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Some conditions above may be waived only with permission from the Veterans Breakfast Club and/or the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Intiative. Non-watermarked images are available upon request. Use of content by 3rd parties does not constitute an endorsement by the Veterans Breakfast Club and/or the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative.
The Veterans Breakfast Club and/or the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Intiative retains and manages copyright control of any and all content on this site or associated sites of ownership or control.
PUBLIC NOTICE OF RECORDING & CONSENT
The commercial and/or unauthorized use of media content derived from events sponsored by the Veterans Breakfast Club and/or the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative is prohibited.
Participants/attendees at events sponsored by the Veterans Breakfast Club and/or the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative consent to be filmed/taped and otherwise recorded and agree that the Veterans Breakfast Club and/or the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative may use their voice, name and filmed/taped and/or recorded image and likeness, without limitation or restriction, and without payment of any kind, for all purposes, in connection with any other production (including without limitation, the advertising and promotion thereof), in perpetuity, in any and all languages, formats, manner, media, devices, processes and technologies, now known and later devised.
The Veterans Breakfast Club and/or the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative proceed in reliance upon this notice and participants’ consent-by-participation in connection with its production activities.