More than a name on a wall


Group seeks help telling stories about veterans

By Derek Henry - For The Lima News



Kathleen and David Paxton are the driving force behind the Allen County Veterans Memorial Foundation. They are pictured at the grave of PFC Donald Rayburn of Lima, who was the subject of a poem by his wife, Naomi, after he was killed during WWII in Germany in 1944.

Kathleen and David Paxton are the driving force behind the Allen County Veterans Memorial Foundation. They are pictured at the grave of PFC Donald Rayburn of Lima, who was the subject of a poem by his wife, Naomi, after he was killed during WWII in Germany in 1944.


Derek Henry | The Lima News

A rendering of a possibility for the Allen County War Memorial.

A rendering of a possibility for the Allen County War Memorial.


Submitted

714 killed in action from Allen County

War | Number

Mexican-American | 3

Spanish-American | 1

Civil War | 210

WWI | 121

WWII | 264

Korea | 68

Vietnam | 37

Persian Gulf | 1

Iraq | 4

Afghanistan | 3

Non-War Ops | 2

Source: Allen County Memorial Veterans Foundation

LIMA — Every name has a story.

For Pfc. Donald E. Rayburn, that story is told in a poem.

The Lima soldier was killed during World War II in Germany on Oct. 1, 1944. Private Rayburn’s body was subsequently moved back to Lima and re-interred at Shawnee Cemetery on Dec. 10, 1947. The impact on his wife, Naomi Rayburn, was such that she wrote a poem to express her feelings of despair.

The poem was uncovered through research done by the Allen County Veterans Memorial Foundation. It was originally published in The Lima News in September 1945.

It read:

In loving memory of my husband, PVT. Donald K. Rayburn, who was killed in Germany, October 1, 1944:

The call was sudden, the shock severe.

With little thought such grief was near.

Only those who have lost loved ones can tell,

the pain and parting without farewell.

Some may think we are not lonely

when at times they see us smile.

Little do they know the heartache

that we suffer all the while.

When evening shadows are falling,

and we are sitting all alone,

In our hearts there comes a longing,

Oh, if you could come back home.

Faces of War

David and Kathleen Paxton had hoped to contact Naomi Rayburn to learn more about her story, but unfortunately, she too had died.

The Paxtons have made it their mission to help erect a memorial to all the Allen County veterans who died while serving their country. The theme for the Allen County War Memorial will be Faces of War. This will include a section on families and how war impacted them with the loss of their loved one. The Memorial Foundation is looking for volunteers to help find these stories.

“The objective has always been to build a war memorial for the veterans of Allen County, specifically honoring those who have lost their lives, made the ultimate sacrifice, in service to their country,” said David Paxton.

The vision is to have a memorial in which there would be a ceremonial or gathering area for organizations to use for various veteran related observances. This gathering space would lead visitors into an area where the actual memorials and remembrance plaques for each honoree would be located.

“The goal is that the plaques will not just have the veteran’s name, rank and military service on it,” says Paxton. “It will have their story as to who they were and when and how they died.”

Seeking volunteers

Gathering those stories has proven to be quite the task. Kathleen Paxton has been the one coordinating the research into each of the veterans on the foundation’s 714-member list that is on the website allencountyveterans.org. There are many veterans with their stories documented. The searchable database covers from the Mexican-American War through the Afghanistan conflict of today.

The Paxtons agree the research for veteran information is the most time-consuming part of their project.

“Volunteers to do research on these veteran’s stories would be a great help,” said David Paxton. “We have some good websites that provide good information, but just getting to it in a timely way can be tough.”

He added, “Another way to bring these stories to light would be for individuals who had relatives or friends who may have been killed in a war to search the database for the name of the individual and, if found, contact the Allen County Veterans Memorial Foundation with any information that could be added to the database. Also, if you are looking for a relative or friend, the database could help find information you are seeking.”

Site selected

A two-acre site at the northeast corner of state Route 117 and Bowman Road has been set as the location of the new memorial.

Kathleen and David Paxton are the driving force behind the Allen County Veterans Memorial Foundation. They are pictured at the grave of PFC Donald Rayburn of Lima, who was the subject of a poem by his wife, Naomi, after he was killed during WWII in Germany in 1944.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2018/08/web1_paxton.jpgKathleen and David Paxton are the driving force behind the Allen County Veterans Memorial Foundation. They are pictured at the grave of PFC Donald Rayburn of Lima, who was the subject of a poem by his wife, Naomi, after he was killed during WWII in Germany in 1944. Derek Henry | The Lima News
A rendering of a possibility for the Allen County War Memorial.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2018/08/web1_Memorial.jpgA rendering of a possibility for the Allen County War Memorial. Submitted
Group seeks help telling stories about veterans

By Derek Henry

For The Lima News

714 killed in action from Allen County

War | Number

Mexican-American | 3

Spanish-American | 1

Civil War | 210

WWI | 121

WWII | 264

Korea | 68

Vietnam | 37

Persian Gulf | 1

Iraq | 4

Afghanistan | 3

Non-War Ops | 2

Source: Allen County Memorial Veterans Foundation

Reach Derek Henry at bdh0412@hotmail.com. For more information, to donate, or to volunteer go to allencountyveterans.org

Reach Derek Henry at bdh0412@hotmail.com. For more information, to donate, or to volunteer go to allencountyveterans.org

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