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August 6, 2004
The following was my first article and introduction, July 5, 2002:

“These stories are about the men and women who went to war so that we might be free. This column is dedicated to all our Veterans. It will use articles taken from past Oroville Mercury Registers. I recently received a scrapbook made by Ona Couris during WW II. It is full of newspaper clippings dated December 1944 through May of 1945. It begins with letters from her husband, Tom Couris and his friend, David Loehwing. Tom was an Oroville businessman for many years before and after the War. Many of those mentioned in these stories came home. But as you will learn, many young Oroville men did not. They gave the ultimate sacrifice.
We are starting in the middle of World War II but in the future we will cover those war’s before and after, as the information comes in. I appeal to the people of Oroville, if you have any articles that will help us in our research please contact me at 533-8147. I am the Co- Chairman, along with Bill Connelly, of the Oroville Veterans Memorial Committee. Our plans are to build a fitting memorial and park in Oroville to honor all of our Veterans, past and future.”

Oroville Mercury Register August 26, 1954 and May 26, 1945

George Couris Asks Favor Of Citizens
George Couris, who operates his modest shoe repair shop on Montgomery Street, has received word from the post office that clothing he sends to Greece must have a certificate or bill stating it has been cleaned. Couris, who has long been sending clothing and shoes to friends and relatives in Greece, has asked his many friends who supply the clothing to have the articles cleaned before bring them to him as the entire cleaning bill would mean a great added expense to him, and would limit the amount of clothes he could send. Couris first came to America in 1904 from his home in Greece, but was called back to fight in the Balkan wars. When he returned to America in 1914 he made his home in Oroville with his bride the late Catherine Karageris. Couris became a United States citizen in 1928.

Tom Couris Is Released
Tom Couris has been released from a German prison camp, according to word received by his wife, Mrs. Ona Couris of 3rd Avenue, in a telegram from the War Department stating that he has been returned to military control. A second telegram from Couris himself was sent through the Red Cross and asked for word from home. He was listed as missing by the War Department November 13. A letter from him in March said that he was a prisoner of war.

Stu’s notes:
Mark September 17th on your calendars that is P.O.W./M.I.A REMEMBERANCE DAY. It is the day to honor all those tens of thousands of Men and Women that were prisoners of war or missing in action. Oroville had a number of these. We will have our 2nd annual ceremony on the steps of the Veterans Memorial Hall that Friday evening.

Last week’s article about Robert Tieck brought these words from one of our committee members, Doug Kraus (who flew in B-17’s during the War off our California coast and over Germany). Someday I hope he will tell me more. “There is a 150 year old clock that came around the horn in the sitting room of the Oroville Masonic Lodge that was donated by Cecil and Irma Tieck in Honor of their son. Cecil was a very nice even tempered man. I also knew Tom Couris. He told me they were moving up to the Front in a truck and the driver took a wrong turn and drove into a German occupied town. They were in the back without access to their weapons and the Germans just switched drivers and drove them to a prison camp. As they went in the gate someone yelled ‘anyone from Oroville?’ it was Norval Engasser, Tom’s friend from home.” It is a small world for two GI’s to meet so far from home. Tom served his country well before he was captured and if you go to the www.orovilleveteransmemorialpark.org, you can read about him and all the others I have written about over the past couple of years. As we know Tom came home to Oroville and his family. He lived out his life here but it was probably shortened by his time in a German Prison of War camp. I found this current little story about Tom’s dad and called Ona. She said he was the most wonderful little man who helped everybody. I thanked her again for letting me copy her Scrapbook. She will get me more stories of Tom. I would also like to thank Coleen Wycoff for giving me so many Oroville Mercury's of the past.