Whitten military tribute book completed

The small Hardin County town of Whitten, population 148, knows how to give back.

So say Mary Lou Clough Voight of Oceanside, Calif., Clare Ann Koch Hauser of Conrad, Caroloyn Long Schafer of Eldora and Connie Long Walton of Grinnell.

They know well of what they speak.

The women based their matter-of-fact statement on their experiences gleaned from dozens of face-to-face interviews with veterans and their families – all from the Whitten area for the foursome’s book, “Whitten Military Tribute – Remembering Their Sacrifice.”

Veterans from 1950 to present are the subject of the historical review.

“It also includes men and women who have served their country in conflicts or wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere,” Schafer said.

It will be printed within 10 days, and the authors are eager to know now how many folks would be interested in purchasing a copy.

Writing a book about the veterans was sparked when Voight, a Whitten native who had moved west as part of her career as a U.S. Marine captain from 1951 to 1958, began researching the history of seven men from the Whitten area who were killed in World War II.

“I wanted to honor these heroes,” she said

Her brother, Charles W. Clough, was one, killed by a German sniper’s bullet during the Battle of the Bulge.

The other men who paid the ultimate price from that war so that others could live in freedom were Donald B. Dickenson, Morris L. Haskin, George H. Clarke, Woodrow W. Saint, Virgil D. Parrish and Dick D. Johnson.

Voight has never forgotten her roots as she has returned to Whitten many times, and is proud of her home, where she was raised with five siblings.

While researching the seven, Voight soon learned of other Whitten-area veterans.

News of the project spread and Voight received calls and emails from their families as well, from Central Iowa to far-away North Carolina.

“The project mushroomed,” she said. “Whitten is a small, close-knit town … we are like family.”

She completed her first book about the seven men, but also included World War I veterans and others up to 1950. It was donated several years ago to the Union American Legion.

Voight was also eager to pen a second book, this for veterans from 1950 to present, and recruited Hauser, Schafer and Walton to help.

“Mary Lou (Voight) inspired the two of us,” said Schafer. “It has been the most rewarding project Connie and I have ever taken on. We had a chance to visit with people we had not seen for years. It has given us a whole new appreciation for military service, and the sacrifice families and military personnel have made.”

The project required four years of work, Schafer said.

“It was impressive to see how many veterans have come out of the Whitten area, Walton said.

Alumni, schools and family members of the small farming community served as primary research sources for Voight and team.

Copies of “Whitten Military Tribute” will be available at the annual Union-Whitten banquet, July 12, at the Best Western Regency Inn in Marshalltown.

Parties interested in purchasing a copy of the book, should contact Schafer as soon as possible at 480-250-6674, or schafers2@cox.net.