All local Vietnam casualties’ photos are now documented
Published 4:53 am Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Janna Hoehn, the woman from Hawaii who volunteers for the “Faces Never Forgotten” aspect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, has been working to get photographs of the final five of the 10 listed names from Washington Parish who were killed in action during that conflict. Recently, she declared that she has achieved her goal.
The aim of the project was to put a face with every name that is etched in the famous “Vietnam Wall” in Washington, D.C.
Hoehn began searching this area in January. On Dec. 4, close to a year later, she sent an email that said, “Aloha, have great news … FINALLY completed the photo search for Washington Parish! So excited. I have a photo of each of the Vietnam Fallen now.”
The final five all hailed from Bogalusa. They were James W. Blackmon, who lived from 1932 to 1970; Cecil F. Bush, who lived from 1933 to 1969; Ira D. Cooper, who lived from 1947 to 1968; Albert J. Peters, who lived from 1945 to 1968; and Ralph S. Roussell, who lived from 1950 to 1970.
The second time she contacted the paper, after she made a plea to The Daily News for help with the project, Hoehn excitedly told a reporter that the story must have published, because Ira Cooper’s sister had sent her a picture. She signed off her email with, “one down, four to go!”
The next time she contacted The Daily News, Hoehn said she only had two pictures yet to get — one for Albert Peters and one for James Blackmon. It turned out that the first person on her to-do list was the last picture she would get from this parish.
On Aug. 5, Hoehn emailed that she had received a picture of Peters, but was still trying to find one of Blackmon.
“I am so thrilled to have Albert,” she said. “Just waiting for James’ now. His widow called me, however, I still haven’t received them. Wish I knew what high school he went to, just in case.
“Finding families is so hard, as many of the parents have passed, sisters get married and change their names … wives remarry …”
She still needs 23 photos from Louisiana to complete the state. They include Calvin Harris of Rosedale, George Randolph of Cottonport, Joe J. Brackens of Castor, Ivan P. Whitlock of Gibsland, Johnny L. Evans of Baton Rouge — who is buried in Mississippi, Charlie Singleton of Winnsboro, Sylvester Wright Jr. of Jeanerette, Lonnie Bridges of Simsboro, Donnie King of Bastrop, Charles Doty of Natchitoches, Otis Lewis of Natchitoches, Benjamin J. Anthony of New Orleans, James D. Richardson of New Orleans, James W. Robertson of New Orleans, Alvin J. Scott of New Orleans, Ephron Wallace Jr. of New Orleans, Jimmy Carter of Ouachita Parish, Freddie Lewis of Alexandria, Robert Smith of Alexandria, Wesley O. Grant of Coushatta, Ambrose Gassaway of Fisher, Eugene Bean Jr. of Hammond, and John E. Francewar of Hammond.
If anyone has contacts in those cities and would like to help Hoehn gather pictures, her email address is email@example.com.
“Perseverance is my middle name,” Hoehn said. “I will not quit until we have every last photo.”