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First Person

Brave storytellers

On July 8, Benjamin Patton, grandson of General George S. Patton Jr., brings his filmmaking workshop for veterans with post-traumatic stress to the family farm in Hamilton.

Benjamin Patton.

Aram Boghosian

Benjamin Patton.

Everybody knows my grandfather. My father had the same persona — he looked like him and had a towering voice, actually much more of THE GEORGE C. SCOTT voice than my grandfather. And Patton came out when I was 5. So it did dawn on me there was this powerful legacy. My father made a point of letting us know there was a RESPONSIBILITY TO BEING A PATTON — you needed to let veterans know how much you appreciate their service.

I had my eyes on the Naval Academy, but at the last minute I decided to take a different course. I ended up at Georgetown. Years later, I got into filmmaking. It started to dawn on me I had a way to apply my expertise and my interest in history and the military to SUPPORT VETERANS AS A CIVILIAN, and that was very exciting for me.

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BOB WOODRUFF FROM ABC NEWS told me that when you have post-traumatic stress, you need to unpack and repack a lot of these overwhelming memories you have. I realized that’s editing — that’s what editing is. So I came up with the idea of “I WAS THERE” FILM WORKSHOPS. We started holding weeklong workshops with soldiers who were struggling to communicate the things they were going through.

My grandfather married a New Englander and bought THIS FARM, GREEN MEADOWS, IN HAMILTON. After my father passed away, my mother gave the main house and the surrounding 27 acres to the town. I thought, wouldn’t this be a wonderful opportunity to transplant what I’m doing with veterans on military bases to civilian communities? I love the idea of soldiers coming there and using it as something of a retreat, to not only make a film but perhaps find themselves in the process.  — As told to James Sullivan

Interview has been edited and condensed.

Correction: Due to a reporting error, an incorrect figure was given to describe how much land the Patton family gave to the town of Hamilton in an earlier version of this story. It is 27 acres.

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