Yes, I am humble. Um….what exactly does humble mean anyhow?
According to my handy-dandy Internet dictionary this is what humble means:
Hmmmm. 1. Not proud or arrogant; modest. To be humble although successful.
Well…um……the first part yes, the second part “successful,” no freaking way.
The 2nd one there. Yep…I feel insignificant all the time. My other half agrees too. (sigh)
3, low in rank? Well, I only made it to a private first class in the Army. Guess that counts as being low in class.
4, Hey, I’m ALWAYS respectful. Cept when some jerk cuts me off when I’m driving. Um, if you were one of those jerks………soreeeee.
5, Now I definitely fit into this humble category. Cripes, I’m only 5’4″.
My newest book, “Forgotten” is about two Navy pilots who were killed in a mid-air collision over my town, (Preston, Ct.) on October 19th 1944. They were forgotten for over 70 years until our local VFW erected a small memorial on the grounds of the Preston Public Library and now they are raising funds for a permanent memorial. (see article below)
I wanted to write a book about these two pilots, their lives, dreams, and their families, so that they would no longer just be identified as two pilots in an air crash that many people never heard about.
I’ve spent several months conducting interviews with their families, research on the lives of both pilots, visiting the crash site as well as the air base they flew out of on that fateful night, and have compiled what I think is a book that will serve as a memorial to both pilots as well as a sense of remembrance and pride for their families.
The problem here is publishing costs as I am footing the bill for this book to be published.
Here’s the “humble” part.
To all of my followers on WordPress who have enjoyed reading the nonsense I write, you know that I always include a “PayPal” donate link at the bottom of each blog. Of course, over the years (5) I’ve received three donations, which were greatly appreciated, but now I’m humbly asking anyone who would like to make a donation towards getting this book to print, to contribute. Any amount, whatever, will be put towards this goal.
The publishing cost in total is only $847, but to me, on a fixed income, it might as well be $84,700,00.
This is just a shot in the dark, so to speak, but I figured I’d give it a try. Anyone who donates will have their name published at the end of the book as making it possible. Should I achieve that publishing amount goal, any donations over that amount of $847 will be donated to the memorial committee in Preston. Also, should the memorial committee not reach its goal to establish a permanent memorial after my book is published, all royalties from my book will be donated to the memorial fund until their goal is achieved.
Thanks to all.
(UPDATE) Donations as of 7/18/15……………0
The Donate Link to PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=QQST38XT3YK78
Veterans Council launches fundraiser to honor WWII pilots
Preston — Navy ensigns George K. Kraus and Merle H. Longnecker didn’t grow up in this region, but the Norwich Area Veterans Council and a local author want to make sure the two World War II Navy pilots are not forgotten in southeastern Connecticut.
Kraus, 22, Wauwatosa, Wisc., and Longnecker of New Rockford, N.D., just eight days shy of his 21st birthday, were flying “Hellcat” fighter planes out of the Charlestown, R.I., Naval Auxiliary Air Field in a night training exercise on Oct. 19, 1944.
Their planes collided over the Laurel Hill in Norwich and crashed in the deep woods on the Norwich State Hospital property.
Pieces of the wreckage are still visible, and a sign nailed to a tree asks the few visitors who hike up a steep hill to the site to be respectful and remember the two young men.
The property is now owned by the town of Preston and being marketed as Preston Riverwalk. Any future development would have to preserve the crash site, documented in a detailed archaeological report published in 2006 by the state Historic Preservation Office.
With the visible remnants of the crash hidden in the woods, and memories fading, members of the Norwich Area Veterans Council have launched a fundraiser to ensure that Preston honors the two would-be WWII Navy pilots as well as any veteran who died performing his duty.
John Waggoner, chairman of the council’s World War II Plane Crash Committee, said the group plans to erect a permanent memorial on the grounds of the Preston Public Library adjacent to the town’s Vietnam War Era memorial.
The small memorial park already features three granite benches, one to the left of the Vietnam memorial and two others flanking a peace pole behind the memorial.
The committee’s plans to erect a fourth bench engraved with the names of the two pilots flanking the right of the Vietnam memorial, committee member Bob Murphy said.
The committee hosted a memorial service last October at the spot to mark the 70th anniversary of the crash and erected a temporary sign and wreath honoring the two pilots.
If the group raises enough money, a stone walkway would be installed leading from the library parking lot to the benches.
A quiet fund drive has yielded about $700 to date, and now the committee is launching a public campaign to raise $6,000 for the project, including a crowd-funding effort at www.gofundme.com under the title “WW2 Plane Crash Monument.” Local fundraiser events will be scheduled soon.
Separately, Preston author Richard Vittorioso is writing a biography of the two pilots with detailed information contributed by their two families. Vittorioso has dozens of photographs of the men and information and photos of their military experiences. On Thursday he will hike up the hill to photograph the crash site.
Vittorioso said the book will tell the story of the two young men’s lives and dreams. Longnecker’s wife, Blanche, kept a detailed scrapbook, including letters, photographs and mementos. A great niece loaned the scrapbook to Vittorioso — a gesture of trust from the family he greatly appreciated.
One item in particular, he said, struck him as he sifted through the scrapbook. Blanche Longnecker had placed a pressed dried rose from her husband’s funeral in the scrapbook.
“You really get to know these pilots,” Vittorioso said. “They are not just two pilots who died over Preston.”
The Norwich Area Veterans Council’s WWII Plane Crash Committee is seeking donations to erect a permanent memorial at the Preston Public Library for two young naval pilots killed in a night training flight over Norwich and Preston Oct. 19, 1944.
Donations: Send cash donations with checks made out to Norwich Area Veterans Council with “Preston WWII Memorial” in the notation line to: John Waggoner, 41 Lynn Drive, Preston, CT 06365.
Online donations can be made at www.gofundme.com “WW2 Plane Crash Monument.
For information, call Waggoner at (860) 889-5822.