Hawaii may be a long way from Garland County, but when it comes to honoring fallen soldiers from the Vietnam War one resident of the Aloha State doesn't see distance or time as an obstacle.
Janna Hoehn, of Maui, Hawaii, has been working for the last six years with the "Faces Never Forgotten" project of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to locate photos to go with every name listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., to be displayed on a virtual "Wall of Faces."
"Out of 58,315 photos needed we are down to needing only 4,766 as of (Monday)," Hoehn told The Sentinel-Record. "The state of Arkansas had 595 young men who died in Vietnam, and we are needing 145 more photos."
Two of the fallen soldiers still needing photos are from Garland County, she said. They are Joe Hibbler Jr., born 1948, died 1968; and James V. Lloyd, born 1939, died 1970. Both are reportedly from Hot Springs.
"If anyone is related, a friend or a classmate to any of the young men on the list I would very much appreciate hearing from you," she said. "Even if you don't have a photo but know which school any of these young men attended, it would be so helpful. We need to obtain a photo of every single Fallen Hero whose names are etched on The Wall."
Hoehn, a 28 year resident of Hawaii, said she first got interested in the project when she and her husband visited Washington, D.C., eight years ago and she made a rubbing of a random name from the wall, "even though I never knew anyone killed in Vietnam."
After she returned home, she researched the soldier in an attempt to locate his family so she could send them her etching in the event they had never been able to go to the Wall. She tried for six months but couldn't find any family, she said, so she turned to her cousin, "our family historian," who was able to track down a college photo of the soldier.
Two years later, she saw a local news story about the "Faces Never Forgotten" project and sent in the photo she had. Five days later, she got an email from Jan Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Wall, thanking her for the photo, which is the first they had received of the soldier.
Scruggs asked Hoehn if she could help find photos for the 42 fallen soldiers from the Maui area. "I replied, 'It would be an honor.' I have always hoped I could do something for the Vietnam veterans as the way they were treated when they returned was disgraceful. Here was my chance."
She said she thought it would be an easy project since Maui is so small, but it proved more daunting than expected. She found 10 by combing phone books and calling relatives, a few more by searching high school yearbooks, three more by searching obits in the library, before finally making an appeal to the Maui News, which printed a front-page article about her efforts.
"I started receiving calls from all over the United States sending me photos," she said. "I was unaware how many people read the Maui News online." The newspaper continued running updates on her progress until about six months later she had located photos of all 42 soldiers.
"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, I take it all over Maui giving presentations to high schools, libraries and civic groups. It has been very well received," she said.
She went on to find all five soldiers needed from her childhood home of Hemet, Calif., and soon began searching for all the soldiers from California and then moved on to other states with more than 500 newspapers from 19 states running stories. "The response has been amazing," Hoehn said, noting she has collected 5,000 photos since 2011, taking one state at a time, moving west to east.
"I have helped complete the states of Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas and Hawaii, and we are very close on several others," she said.
All of the photos will be featured on the "Wall of Faces" online memorial on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website, as well as in the future Education Center that will be adjacent to the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.
Anyone with photos or information about Hibbler or Lloyd can submit them to Hoehn at email@example.com. For more information about the Education Center or to make a donation to help build the center, visit http://www.vvmf.org/thewall.Local on 10/15/2017
Print Headline: Never forgotten Hawaiian woman seeks photos of fallen soldiers