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Middle School Students & DAR Preserving Stories of WWII

Pam Johnson, Regent of the Rebecca Parke Chapter of DAR in Galesburg, Illinois invests her time helping students document important stories for A BOOK by ME by serving as a writing coach.

The fruit of her labor is the preservation of WWII stories from her area. Now generous donors are coming forward to put these books in local schools.

Back row: Veteran Leland Chandler, Daughter Deb Bowen, Veteran Reed Robertson Front row: Daughter Pam Johnson and Julia Roberts

Thrivent Financial gifted $250 for books for the students at Costa Catholic Academy in Galesburg. Twenty book titles were donated to their library and three WWII subjects visited the school to celebrate.

A bombardier named Reed Robertson (95) was celebrating his book titled

Capturing the Moment being available for students at Costa and available to the general public on Amazon. Reed's book is funded for schools in Rock Island County since the girls who documented his story live there. A donor is needed to put his book in schools in Knox County.

Veteran Floyd Ragsdale interviewed with Pam and two boys who intended to document his story just days before he passed away. Floyd wore his WWII uniform and the boys wore their Boy Scout uniforms. They completed the project after his death and now, his book Floyd Ragsdale The Soldier Who Dodged Death in WWII is also available on Amazon. Funding has been secured for Floyd's book to be donated to schools in Knox County.

The Soldier Who Forgave is the story of Leland Chandler (94). The kids tell the story of this man taken as a Prisoner of War by the Japanese and forced to work in a steel mill. He was treated horribly and it took him over 25 years after the war to forgive his enemies. His book is in final edits and has been funded so will soon be in school libraries in Knox County.

Julia Mattocks (98) was a "Rosie the Riveter", a woman who took a factory job because men were at war. Julia worked in an ammunition plant filling bombs. She said as she filled them, she would pray that they didn't fall on children. Her students have finished up the book project titled The Amazing True Story of Julia Mattocks A Real Life Rosie the Riveter.

Last but not least, is a new title called Joan McMullen Nesbitt - Story of a British War Bride.This is the story of Pam Johnson's mother who was a meteorologist during the war. It was an important job since the Allies needed to know the weather as they made strategic plans.

In hearing these stories, students gain a better understanding of the sacrifices made by the Greatest Generation.

If you would like to be a donor for Reed's book or would like to provide book sets to a specific classroom, email Jeanie at

"One reason I joined DAR was admiration for their love of history preservation and patriotism. Regent Pam Johnson is working tirelessly to capture stories. If others would decide to help a student document one story, we would be able to preserve thousands of stories before we can no longer meet a WWII survivor."

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