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Friday, May 6, 2016

Project aimed at preserving stories from World War II vets

Thursday, May 10, 2007

AREA -- Thomasville resident Carl Williams has spent countless hours trying to save stories from veterans of World War II.

He has organized a meeting where all area veterans, not just from Oregon County, but also from Mammoth Spring and any other area, can meet May 13 at 2 p.m. at the Alton Methodist Church (across from Clary Funeral Home) at Alton.

"We are inviting veterans to meet at Alton May 13 to have their World War II stories recorded on DVDs," Williams said.

Roger Warsing of Faith Enterprises in West Plains will be recording the stories as part of Williams' World War II oral history project." He said the project will be limited to not-for-profit educational purposes. Local Boy Scouts will be at the Methodist Church May 13 to assist any veteran who would like to participate in the project but might need help getting to and from the church.

He said he is afraid the stories of bravery and heroism and tales of survival will be lost as World War II veterans age and die.

Williams has already collected many incredible stories including one from 85-year-old Oscar Smotherman of Birch Tree. Smotherman was on night patrol with five other men when he was shot. The other four men were killed. After he was shot he was captured by the Germans and spent 18 months as a POW. Smotherman said he lost 48 pounds during his captivity.

Another Birch Tree man, Ben Scoville, 83, was a gunner on a bomber when his plane went down over Germany. Scoville was in a POW camp for 14 months and survived much of that time on nothing but cabbage and potatoes.

One day last week Williams ate lunch at Fun and Friends Senior Citizen Center in Thayer. In a short time at the senior center, Williams said he met seven World War II veterans: James Hansen, James Nelson, J.D. Ary, Clyde Webb, Eugene Blankenship, Burt Volkening and Cleo Riggs.

Williams said once the DVD is completed it will be available for purchase at Faith Enterprises at 1002 West Broadway in West Plains.

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