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Museum program focuses on efforts to honor those who served

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Bill deKok, left, and Rocky Wilson stand in front of the World War II panels dedicated this past Memorial Day while holding a photo of the honor roll that inspired them.


POSTED October 29, 2012 1:06 a.m.

Rocky Wilson was on a mission.

He had heard that Manteca at one time had a large honor roll gracing the eastern side of the LOOF/Bedquarters building facing Main Street that listed the names of the 983 Manteca District men who served in World War II.

Wilson got a hold of photographs of the wall with the honor roll that are part of the Manteca museum collection.  As the historian of the American Legion Post, he wanted to make sure the names of those who served are never forgotten.

“I was surprised at the high number of 983 men,” Wilson said. “Manteca was a pretty small community back then.”

Wilson easily got the backing of the post membership. That led to a committee comprised of Pastor Mike Dillman, George Terry, Jack White and Wilson to work on the appropriate memorial. That led to Dillman asking Fred White - the designer of the Traveling Tribute to the Fallen in the Global War on Terror - to come up with an appropriate portable memorial for Manteca’s World War II veterans.

“We needed $3,000 to $4,000 and we quickly got it through community donations and a dinner we held,” Wilson recalled.

The World War II honor roll panels will be on display for the Thursday, Nov. 8, Manteca Historical Society meeting taking place at 7 p.m. at the museum, 600 W. Yosemite Ave.

Wilson will talk about the wall and the panels during the meeting. Ripon resident Bill deKok is also a speaker for the meeting. The past president of the local U.S. Army Warrant Officers Association will talk about the efforts and accomplishments of that organization.

The honor roll was put in place in 1945. It was removed in 1958 when weather had taken its toll.

The free program is the society’s annual tribute to veterans.

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