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Students honor the La Verne fallen

Project would revamp war memorials on campus.

An oak tree growing in Sneaky Park west of the Wilson Library was planted in memory of Donald F. Gaston and Forrest O. Chappell, soldiers who died during World War I. / photo by Stephanie Arellanes

An oak tree growing in Sneaky Park west of the Wilson Library was planted in memory of Donald F. Gaston and Forrest O. Chappell, soldiers who died during World War I. / photo by Stephanie Arellanes

Dan Sayles
Sports Editor

Two stone memorials sit beneath the oak tree in front of the Wilson Library, amid the dusty soil.

Their plaques are suffering from corrosion, the greenish-blue oxidation on copper plaques slowly settling on the surface.

Many students may not have known about the memorial until a few recently took notice and felt the modest memorial – to two ULV students who were killed in World War I – deserved better.

“Me and some other friends were walking nearby when we noticed it,” said junior history major Kevin Lentz. “We noticed it wasn’t really kept up well.”

The plaques memorialize Forrest Chappell and Donald Gaston.

“If it weren’t for my friends’ eagle eyes, I would have never have known about the extremely small plaque in front of the library,” said senior history major Sean Peck.

“I wonder if other students know about it,” Peck said.

Peck, Lentz, Timothy Hyder and Tim Ousterhout are organizing to have the memorials updated by their new group, tentatively named the University of La Verne Historical Society.

And it will not stop at the WWI memorials, they say.

“While walking around campus, we also came across a pathetic plaque with the names of five more students who lost their lives in service during World War II,” said Ousterhout, a sophomore history major.

The names of the students on the World War II memorials are William Cottle, Glen Thomas, Norman Jones, James Johnson, and Stanley Hunter.

“We are hoping to be able to include these with the memorial as well,” Ousterhout added.

At the very least, a bigger plaque is warranted, Peck said.

The group is also considering a bird bath with a plaque as a possible upgrade from the current memorial, Ousterhout said.

But for the moment, the planning process is still in early stages.

The group has just begun looking for funding.

“This project is in its infancy stage,” Ousterhout said.

The group is currently discussing ideas on future fundraising for the group project, according to Ousterhout.

“As far as funding goes, we are hoping that the history department will jump on board along with some other investors, such as the American Legion who donated the plaques to begin with,” Ousterhout said.

“I feel that these memorials represent those in the student body that gave their lives in the service,” said Stephen Sayles, professor of history and a veteran of the Vietnam War.

“It only makes sense that we should keep the memorials shining in remembrance,” Sayles added.

Ousterhout had similar feelings about the effort to improve the memorials on campus.

“The reason we feel compelled to do this has to do with the fact that we, along with the University itself, owe a debt of gratitude to these brave young men who gave their lives in service for their country,” Ousterhout said.

For more information, call Peck at 213-864-5603, or e-mail him at sean.peck@laverne.edu.

Dan Sayles can be reached at dan.sayles@laverne.edu.

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