Glendale Photographer Honors WWII Vets With Personalized Photos, Stories

A photographer at Glendale wants to maintain the legacies of World War II veterans nationwide after the passing of his grandfather who served at the infamous war.

“That whole experience changed my perspective on life completely. So that was the beginning of all,” said Zach Coco.

World War II veterans are featured in a picture on the ‘Pictures for Heroes’ web site.

Coco, 30, takes  photographs  and interviews WWII pros with the hope of shooting as you can as many memories and stories. Motivated by a honor flight that he took along with his grandfather a couple of years ago, Coco was never able to totally catch his grandfather’s story.

The WWII vet passed out in November 2014.

“I understand a few facts about where he had been, what boat he was on and also a few instances where a torpedo had struck his boat, but I understand there’s much more that I don’t understand, and sadly never will,” said Coco.

Zach Coco is shown from a meeting at Glendale. (Charge: KTLA)

After his grandfather’s passing Coco began documenting honor flights for veterans and committing the photographs. His private job gradually grew into ‘Films for Heroes’, a non-profit devoted to honoring WWII veterans through photography and interviews.

“Once my grandfather passed away everything just clicked; it all made sense, everything seen somewhere,” said Coco.

Jack Trull, one of Coco’s subjects, is a 93-year-old veteran who had been a part of the Airborne Division. He detailed his time at the war through his interview, reflecting back.

“I had been in the Army and we captured quite a few of the Germans,” said Trull.   “Part of this Battle of Bulge; we had been right behind the infantry, shooting on the infantry. It had been quite a thing.”

Trull is just one of 40 California veterans Coco has been in a position to memorialize since he began the project. He informed KTLA he wants to ensure that their bravery and sacrifice is not forgotten.

A WWII veteran, Jack Trull, is pictured on Zach Coco’s camera May 25, 2017. (Charge: KTLA)

“Each interview that I do I learn something I did not understand,” said Coco. “Most of these are in their 90s and 100s and there’s a lot that our nation has gone through at the moment. Sadly, the production is dying off thus there is a need to maintain that history before we repeat it.”

Coco, who began taking pictures in high school, intends to launch a hardcover book on the veterans and contribute 20 percent of its proceeds to honor flights. His final aim is to expand the job nationwide so that each one of the country’s dwelling WWII veterans can be featured.

“I managed to take my livelihood and my livelihood and also tie it in with a passion that I had, not for the cash, there’s absolutely not any cash involved; I do it because it feels good,” said Coco. “I am in a position to give back to people who gave me my freedom and gave me the capability to do what I’m doing now. That is what it is all about.”

Coco is currently raising cash for this heartfelt project to attain his dream about remembering and virtually every WWII veteran.