By Joanna Bastian
The Pateros School District holds an annual Veterans Day assembly on the Thursday before Veterans Day. Students in grades K-12 attend and participate in the assembly with band and choir performances, readings, flag ceremonies and more. The American Legion Post 97 from Brewster will post the colors.
The Veterans Day Assembly is open to the community, and veterans are welcome. Ceremonies began at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday (Nov. 9) at the Pateros school.
When the United States joined WWII, all the young people from Pateros were shipped around the world to support the war effort. Four women and over 140 men in all. The family members who stayed home supported the war effort in other ways: children collected tin foil and old tires, while adults collected scrap metal, and recyclables were used to manufacture war materials. During the day, women went to work in the orchards and mills, and at night they hung blackout curtains in the windows of their homes. Gas and meat were rationed. Ask anyone of a certain age, and they will tell you the lasting effects from WWII that can still be felt in the community today.
In the entryway of the Pateros school is a wooden plaque, with 151 names of WWII veterans from the Pateros school district neatly etched into small plates. A decade ago a group of residents designed the memorial: Chuck Borg, Phil Brownlee, Bert Stennes, Walt Peckham, Chick Pryor and Jack Nickell. After the plaque was donated to the school, Chuck continued to work on the project over the next three years by interviewing family members and friends of the veterans. He compiled an album full of pictures and stories of the 151 veterans. The album is available for viewing at the Pateros Museum, and the Pateros school.
A poster honoring two veterans will be featured at the Pateros school assembly. Hugh Farwell graduated from Pateros High School in 1942, David Reynaud was a 1941 graduate. The two were recipients of the Silver Star, one of America’s highest awards for valor.
Hugh Farwell received both the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for “conspicuous gallantry” during the Battle of Iwo Jima. He received a serious head wound while covering troops as they moved forward under enemy fire. After the war, he attended Gonzaga University and became a lawyer.
David Reynaud earned the Silver Star for “gallantry in action” in the Philippines. The citation reads, “As lead scout, Private Reynaud crawled … within a few yards of the enemy perimeter and gained valuable information which enabled … a speedy capture of the enemy stronghold with a minimum of casualties.”
David often credited his youthful adventures in the mountains of Gold Creek for preparing him to meet the physical demands of war.
Chuck Borg’s album, “There Were No Young People Left, They Were All at War,” is a record of the heroic actions of young people from the Methow Valley. The album can be viewed at the Pateros Museum and school. Pages of siblings follow each other, holding the surnames of our neighbors: Brownlee, Doran, Healam, Miller, Nickell. Although the individual pages record gallant service in the face of danger, when taken as a whole it is a somber reminder of the human price we pay for war.