Janna Hoehn is on a mission — to put faces with the names of those listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
Her virtual journey through the 50 states has brought her to Bossier Parish. Hoehn reached out to the Press-Tribune via e-mail to help locate the families of Dennis B. Black (1947-1968), Alton D. Kellogg (1942-1968), Herbert Walter (1946-1969) and Arthur N. Welch (1950-1969).
Hoehn began this journey eight years ago after returning home from a trip to Washington, D.C. Visiting the Vietnam War memorial wall was one of the first things on her list to see. Though she never knew anyone killed in Vietnam, she wanted a rubbing of one of the names. She approached the wall and chose one…Gregory John Crossman.
Hoehn returned to her home in Hawaii and decided to do some research on him and his family. In the event they had never been able to see the wall, she decided she would send them the etching, hoping they would share a photo of Gregory in return.
“Off and on for six months I researched every way possible and never found any family. I was quite disappointed,” Hoehn said.
But after a little more work by a family member, she was able to find a college photo of Gregory. Hoehn was elated.
Her journey didn’t end there. She watched a story on the local news about the “Faces Never Forgotten” for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fun about their effort to find photos for the names on the wall. She immediately sent them Gregory’s photo.
Within days, she received an e-mail from Jan Scruggs, a wounded and decorated veteran of the Vietnam War and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Inc. He thanked her for the photo and asked for her help gathering photos of the fallen in Maui, HI.
She was honored and gladly accepted.
“I have always hoped I could to do something for the Vietnam Veterans,” she said. “The way they were treated when they returned, it was disgraceful.”
Hoehn looked through phone books, school yearbooks, and newspaper archives. Then her local newspaper ran a front page story on her efforts. Calls came pouring in from across the country.
After a six month search, she had a photo for every name on her list. She’s now working her way across the country.
“Putting a face with a name changes the whole dynamic of the Wall,” Hoehn said. “It keeps our Fallen Heroes memories alive and will honor them, our heroes stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
There have been 50,000 photos collected to date. There’s still work to be done, though.
“We need to obtain a photo of every single Fallen Hero whose names are etched on The Wall, all 58,315 of them,” she said.
If you are a relative, friend or classmate of the men on the list, Hoehn wants to hear from you. All of the photos will be submitted to the “Wall of Faces” online memorial with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website, as well as in the future Education Center that will be adjacent to the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC.
You can submit photos or information to Janna Hoehn at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Education Center or to make a donation to help build the Center go to www.vvmf.org/thewall.