Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The Gettysburg Bunch: Lynne Lecrone, Dick Allen,& Donna Allen, Carol Down Brooks,
Connie Miller, Janice Buterbaugh, Jeannie Rhinehart, and Susan Friedhaber-Hard.
The informal lunch and meeting took place at McClellands Tavern in the Gettysburg Hotel.

For more on the original Gettysburg meeting, Click Here!

The picture above is of an AWON group who visited Gettysburg in April, 2003. Many in this same group were on hand for the "Gettysburg" weekend, Oct. 15, 2004. The article below tells the story.


Friday, October 15, 2004

Network helps World War II orphans BUILD MEMORIES

BY DAN MILLER of The Patriot-News

Jean Rhinehart imagines her father like a painting that can never be finished.

She has filled in most of the canvas with facts. Glenn U. Brooks Jr. smoked a pipe yet had perfect teeth, for instance. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall and wore a size 81/2 shoe. He excelled in his studies, rode horses, swam and had lots of friends. But part of the portrait will forever remain blank: What his touch felt like. The sound of his voice, and the scent of his favorite cologne.

Lt. Brooks' B-17 went down in the North Sea, March 22, 1943 -- one month before Rhinehart was born.
Much of what Rhinehart of Upper Allen Twp. knows of her father she owes to the American World War II Orphans Network.

The Indianapolis-based network was founded in 1991 by Ann Bennett Mix, who was frustrated in her search for information about her father who was killed in World War II.

Today, Rhinehart and other network members will visit The U.S. Army Military History Institute, a repository of documents, photos and archives about American soldiers and Army units. The information is gold to those piecing together the life of a loved one they never knew.

Rhinehart invites anyone who lost a parent in World War II to meet them at the institute in Middlesex Twp.

Rhinehart said she was fortunate that her mother, who died in 2002, maintained ties to both sides of the family and kept letters and mementos from Jean's father. The collection includes the Western Union telegram that was delivered to Jean's mother, informing her that her husband was missing in action. Brooks was declared dead on March 23, 1944. His body was never recovered, and no trace of the plane or crew ever found.

Rhinehart's mother never remarried. Jean Rhinehart said she was never comfortable asking questions about her father. "As a youngster ... you just absolutely keep it to yourself," Rhinehart said. "I never knew another person who lost their father in World War II. You feel no one understands."

In 1991, she saw a notice in Parade magazine about a group looking for people who lost a parent in World War II. The notice reminded Rhinehart of the hole in her life she longed to fill.

The network opened doors to groups and veterans linked to her father's unit, the 92nd Bomb Group. Rhinehart learned to sift through documents in places like the Army personnel records center in St. Louis. "To go through papers my father actually signed off on, to see my daddy's signature. It makes him real," she said.

More importantly, the network showed Rhinehart she wasn't alone. She bonded with Janice Buterbaugh of Chambersburg and Lynne Lecrone of York and others who lost their fathers in the war. A sniper killed Lecrone's father, 29-year-old 1st Lt. Kenneth E. Lecrone, as his Jeep returned from the front in Europe in 1945. Her mother got the telegram while going into labor. Lynne was born a few hours later.

Buterbaugh's father survived Omaha Beach on D-Day but was killed 16 days later advancing through France. She joined the network in 2002. "I actually feel through them that I know who my dad is now, whereas I didn't before. They just didn't talk about him," Buterbaugh said of her mother and family.

DAN MILLER: 249-2006 or danmiller@patriot-news.com


The story was told by Jeanne Rhinehart, and the story about the story
was provided by Janice Buterbaugh, with thanks!