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Tuolumne Veterans History Project

Tuolumne Veterans History Project

About the Project

The Tuolumne Veterans History Project preserves the stories of more than 60 World War II veterans, all of whom live or lived in Tuolumne County, California.

This effort was started in 2010 by personal historian Deanna Dechaine-Maurer, then a writer for Friends and Neighbors Magazine. Deanna wanted to make sure more veterans’ stories were recorded and saved for future generations, and gathered a group of energetic and talented volunteers to make that happen.

The organization in late 2016 completed its mission, thanks to the hard work of two dozen volunteers and a board of directors. Over the life of this nonprofit, Memoir Center volunteers interviewed more than 60 veterans, and created softcover books for these men and women, all provided free of charge thanks to financial support from the Sonora Area Foundation and individual donors.

Project volunteers included Chace Anderson, Matt Baker, Chris Bateman, Marcia Baugh, Niurka and Paul Benton, Bill and Celeste Boyd, Kathi Bramblett, Malcolm and Maureen Carden, Cheryl Clark, Joy Conklin, Nancy Dumas, Pete Fogarty, Cori Frank,  Jim and Judy Hamilton, Pres and Shirley Hatt, Barry Hillman, Katie Hooper, Suzy Hopkins, John Howsden, Darlene Hutchins, Kaela Helmbold, Cathy Lemp, Mary Louis, Packy Maxwell, Jim McDonald, Kathy Nunes, Eric Olson, Alan O’Neill, Arlene Stenger, Donna Underwood and Adia White.

Sonora veteran Tete Arellano

Why do memoirs matter?

These elderly veterans, most in their late 80s or early 90s, are leaving us quickly. We wanted to make sure their firsthand historical lessons survive to inform the next generation, and the generations beyond.

Memoirs preserve our history in narratives that are more personal and engaging than text books and oral histories. Creating a memoir is a way of honoring someone and his or her contributions to family and community, ensuring they will not be forgotten.

We hope you learn from and enjoy the stories recorded here, and that this effort will inspire readers to record their own family members’ personal histories.

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