Photo sought of Palmyra veteran

Photo sought of Palmyra veteran

Image of Harold Owen Richardson needed for memorial

Submitted by Janna Hoehn

Eight years ago my husband and I made our first trip to Washington, D.C. Because Vietnam was the war that was going on while I was in high school, the first memorial on my list was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Even though I never knew anyone killed in Vietnam, I wanted a rubbing of one of the names. I approached the wall and chose a name: Gregory John Crossman, missing in action.

When I returned home I decided to research Gregory and try to find his family. In the event they were never able to go to the wall, I planned to send them the etching, hoping they would share a photo with me of Gregory. Off and on for six months I researched and never found any family, but finally my cousin, our family historian, found a college photo of Gregory.

Two years later I saw a story in our local news about the Wall of Faces project for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. The goal of the project is to put a face with every name etched on the wall. I immediately sent in the photo I had of Gregory Crossman.

Five days later I received an email from Jan Scruggs, the founder and then-president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund foundation. He thanked me for sending the photo – the first for this hero – and, since I am local, asked if I could help him find photos for the 42 Maui County, Hawaii, fallen that were killed in Vietnam. I told him it would be an honor. I have always hoped I could to do something for the Vietnam veterans as I believe the way they were treated when they returned was disgraceful. Here was my chance.

What I thought would be an easy project, due to Maui’s small size, was anything but easy. I started by combing the phone books calling every like name of each soldier. I found about 10 of them this way. Then I checked archived yearbooks for every high school on Maui and found a few more. I headed to the library to look for obituaries and found three more.

Then I went to the Maui News, which printed a beautiful front page article about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the Education Center. I started receiving photos from all over the United States. I was unaware how many people read the Maui Newsonline. The Maui Newsran an article about every six weeks printing the list of names of photos I still needed. Every time they ran a story, I would receive another photo or two. After six months of searching I had a photo of every fallen hero from Maui County.

Once I had all the photos I decided I did not want to keep this to myself. I needed to share it with Maui County. I had a display made with all 42 photos and take it all over Maui giving presentations to high schools, libraries and civic groups. It has been well received.

I then moved on to my hometown of Hemet, Calif., and found the five soldiers from my childhood home. I also became involved in trying to locate photos of Native American soldiers, which brought me to begin searching for all soldiers in California.

Over 500 newspapers have run this story throughout Hawaii, California and 27 other states. The response has been amazing: I have collected over 7,000 photos since 2011. With your help it will be more. I am taking one state at a time, moving west to east. I have helped to complete the states of Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Hawaii, Kentucky, Alabama and Arkansas, and we are very close on several others.

All of these photos will be submitted to the Wall of Faces online memorial with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website, as well as accompanying The Wall that Heals, a replica of the monument that travels all over the U.S.

Putting a face with a name changes the whole dynamic of the wall. It keeps our fallen heroes’ memories alive and honors them so that their stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Palmyra veteran picture needed

We need a photo of Harold Owen Richardson (1948-1970), who received two Bronze Stars. His home of record is Palmyra. He is buried at Little Rock Holy Church Cemetery in Fluvanna County. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Richardson of Palmyra. He is the last photo we need for Fluvanna County out of four.

If anyone is a relative, friend or former classmate of Richardson, I would very much appreciate hearing from you. Even if you don’t have a photo of him but know which school he attended, it would be so helpful. We need to obtain a photo of every single fallen hero whose names are etched on the wall: all 58,315 of them. To date we have collected over 53,000 photos.

I am also looking for an individual that would like to volunteer to be my “boots on the ground” in Fluvanna if we do not find Richardson’s photo. It may mean a trip to the library to search for obituaries or to a high school to look through yearbooks.

Readers can also help improve the photos we currently have. Go to the Wall of Faces page online, type names into the search box, and view the profiles that come up. It is possible readers may have better photos of their friends and loved ones than the one that has already been uploaded.

Please submit photos or any information to Janna Hoehn at

For more information about the Wall of Faces visit


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