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Remembering 957 heroes

Legion planning memorial for World War II vets

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Remembering 957 heroes

Post Commander Penny Winston and Rocky Wilson of the McFall-Grisham American Legion Post 249 in Manteca are excited about a memorial project the group has undertaken to create panels displaying the...

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED January 27, 2012 12:14 a.m.

The members of Manteca’s American Legion Post want to further memorialize the men and women who served in World War II by creating two five-foot panels with their names embossed for future generations to recognize.

The McFall-Grisham Post 249 veterans all remember the names that were printed on the side of the former Turner Hardware Store after the war ended.  The building located on the northwest corner of Yosemite Avenue and Main Street is currently occupied by the Bedquarters business.

When the massive sign was erected there was a service station located on that corner as well.

Legionnaire and post historian Rocky Wilson is leading the charge to raise the necessary $3,000 to fund the honor roll project after Post Commander Penny Winston approved the formation of a special organizational committee.

Wilson summarized that some 70 years ago the young men and women of the Manteca area were asked to enlist in the service.  He recalled that they dropped everything to do their part – some even dropped out of high school because no one wanted to be left behind, he said.

The year the war ended in 1945, the Manteca American Legion Post and the Manteca Lions Club members constructed a large board on the east side of the hardware store near the main downtown intersection.

Wilson said the space was donated by the International Order of Odd Fellows, No. 425 and the names were turned in to the Manteca Bulletin.  A painter was paid $1 for each name he added to the Honor Roll that has seen a total of 957 names including 36 who didn’t come home.

Wilson sought out a copy of a dated and faded Manteca Bulletin from the Manteca Historical Society and copied the names of the veterans printed in that edition by hand for use in the panels.

“Manteca should not and will not forget those young men and women who answered the call of duty during WWII,” Wilson said.”  To them we owe our freedom and our future.”

The names of the veterans on the Honor Roll will be printed on a film base inside two 4X5-foot portable panels.  They are being designed to be mounted on the inside wall of the Legion Hall in the 200 block of East Yosemite Avenue.

Wilson added that the panels will be transported to patriotic events during the years to come where they are to be put on display for the citizens of Manteca and its surrounding communities to see.

In addition to Wilson, other members of the committee are Pastor Mike Dillman, George Terry and Jack White. 

Anyone wishing to donate to the Honor Roll project and help offset the cost may send their checks to American Legion Post 249, P.O. Box 249, Manteca, CA, 95336.  Attention: Honor Roll Fund.

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