About the documentary
2019 Emmy Award Winner - Best Historical Documentary
In June 2015, a 92 year old man became an overnight internet sensation. His name is Raymond "DeVere" Johnson, and he was believed to be the last surviving World War II veteran of the LST-218. Adamant to prove he was not alone, his daughter created a post on Facebook asking help finding him a fellow shipmate. In just days, the post went viral, garnering over one million hits and attention from media outlets from all over the world. Weeks later, 91 year old veteran John Heimsoth was discovered. In effort to make up lost time, these veterans scheduled their first and final reunion.
Throughout the years, John attended several reunions for the surviving crew of the LST-218. In the early 2000s, John hosted what he intended to be the final reunion for these men, leaving him to believe he was the last living member of the incredible ship. In the years since the war, DeVere lived a much more secluded existence. He never knew of the reunions, nor did he seek them out. It was only after the Facebook post went viral he began to open up to his family about life in the war. For these men, this event is much more than a reunion. THE LAST SIGNAL is a thrilling story, proving it is never too late to make history, even at the end of life.
"This heartwarming film is quality from start to finish. From the sound mixing, to the coloration, to the cinematography, to the music selection, to the use of archival footage, to something as simple as the font of the title --- all the production values are present. Mr. Heimsoth’s tale of how he brought closure to families, and seeing DeVere Johnson finally smile at the end---so worthwhile. The excerpt of Cheryl Johnson’s speech, to “learn these stories”, is so important. The love among the members of the Johnson family is genuine and apparent.
All the production values are there and this is a well made film, but what really makes this film work is the clarity of the story line. The directing in this film is the work of a clear professional. It is a well woven and well told story, purposeful, outstanding and touching, the essence of what “America” used to be and perhaps can someday be again."
John Heimsoth, LST-218 Navy Veteran
A message from Senator Dick Durbin
Pictures by Tracie Hunter. Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved