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October 16, 2009

Oroville Mercury September 17, 1943
Touching Scene As USO Brings Mother and Her Son Together Bangor Girl on Long Chance Finds Sailor Boy For Little Old Lady From the Midwest USO
Third and Townsend in San Francisco is the crossroad for many a weary traveled. There, as at many other important travel junctions, the kindly words and the helpful hand of the USO Travelers Aid brings hope, finds friends, dispels fears, and lightens burdens for many. There, soldiers and sailor strangers often see last civilian smiles for them as they shift from train to transports and depart for distant sea and land fronts. There, too, Freda Dunbar, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Reed of Bangor, often serves in spare time as a volunteer USO aide. She helps soldiers and sailors in seeing that they get transport in Red Cross station wagons and in transfer of baggage, She aids the service men with letter-writing materials or assists them in finding relatives or a room.

Wanted to see her Boy
Into the USO haven there came recently, according to Miss Dunbar, a poorly-dressed, bewildered little old lady from a mid west state. .She was looking for her boy, a sailor whom she had not seen for 22 months. All the little woman could tell about her son’s whereabouts was that he was on a naval supply ship, the USS----. It had been in the South Pacific. She gave the boy’s rating as well. With this meager information to work on, the USO volunteer workers began what they presumed was a near hopeless job. Three hours of telephoning, getting past censors, waterfront restrictions, revealed that the boy’s vessel happened to be in port docked at the Embarcadero. And then, as Miss Dunbar said, “with a forlorn hope I took the little old lady under my care.” And started out to find the son she had come so many miles to see. First, they told their story to the guarding police officer at the closed waterfront street. Then there was the guard at shipside. The officer of the day allowed them to climb a rope ladder as the boy was summoned from below. A huge blonde lad appeared, with tears streaming down their faces the son and the mother were clasped in each others arms. Soon there were tears in the eyes of the naval officer of the day…of the kind-hearted cop who had escorted them… of the USO volunteer worker.. . tears of happiness for the faith of a mother’s love that could not be denied.

“Some Gave All” Chico Record, May 7, 1942
James M. Stegner Dies On Corregidor April 30, Sister Here Learns
James M. Steger, 19, tall, blond former Chico High School student was killed at Corregidor on April 30, his sister, Mrs. Laurence Ackzein, West Seventh St., was notified by the war department yesterday. A nephew of Mrs. W. W. Owen of Chico and Mrs. William II. White of Sacramento, former Chico resident and wife of Inspector William White, he was a graduate of Gridley High School. Donna White, Sacramento, a cousin, also survives. Young Stegner attended High school here but finished school at Gridley when he and his father moved there following the death of his mother. Stegner enlisted in the army from Marysville.

Stu’s Notes: The above story can almost make a grown man cry. It is one of the thousands of good stories of our war’s. War is often sad stories. Thank you Joan Lee for finding this one, but to me it’s also the rest of the story I want. Does anyone know of Freda Dunbar. I know Bill Dunbar, WWII Pilot and of coarse I wonder who that young Sailor was. Names of ships and the people on them were often censored in war time.

I received word today, Tuesday, October 13, 2009, that Tuskegee Air Man Samuel L. Broadnax has died. His service will be held in Marysville at the Bethel Church at 1pm, on Friday. A young man dies so far from home in a war that has just started. They fought hard on Corregidor, denying the Japanese, an easy Victory, giving America a chance to regain the initiative, which we soon did, think The Battle of Midway shortly after Young Hero James M. Stegner died, Hero of Chico, Gridley and America and the World. He will Not Be Forgotten.