Grove City Library helped to tell the story of one local veteran and now asks more veterans to share their stories.
Between 2015 and 2017, the Grove City Reference Department assisted Menno Polderman of the Netherlands with researching the American B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber shot down near his grandfather's farm in 1943 during World War II. Polderman planned to construct a memorial to honor the crew at the site of the crash and was gathering information about the crew.
German fighters attacked the B-17 after it completed its bombing run, and it crashed near the Dutch city of Goes. Among the crew members was Ernest "Ernie" Trickett, a 1935 graduate of Grove City High School and a printer for the Grove City Record. A technical sergeant, he served as engineer and top-turret gunner on the B-17 and was among those killed.
Searching through genealogical records, newspaper archives and other records, staffers found quite a bit of information about Trickett that helped flesh out who he was, where he had been and what he did. Staffers also located distant members of his family.
With the memorial finished, a dedication ceremony was held to commemorate the crew on June 22 of this year, the 74th anniversary of the plane's crash. Family members, friends, local officials, American military personnel and others gathered to pay their respects, including Grove City Mayor Ike Stage, who received a special gift from Polderman to pass along to the library.
At its October meeting, Stage presented the gift to the Southwest Public Libraries board of trustees -- a collage featuring photos of the ceremony, a list of the crew members and a painting of the B-17 by Hans Sonke, Polderman's uncle.
Staff will hang it in the library, along with a plaque to recognize the library's contributions to the project.
Because many who knew him personally had long ago passed away, staff researched Trickett's story primarily through old documents, records and photos. Each item unearthed provided bits of information, but all together they formed a narrative.
Trickett's story is one of many veterans' stories in the Grove City community, and the library wants to hear those as well.
Grove City Library will host "Sharing Your Stories: Veterans Remembering Together" at 7 p.m. Nov. 16. Veterans and family members of veterans are invited to share and hear personal stories.
Along with all those documents and records, firsthand accounts of history are a valuable resource that help bring history to life.
Mark Dubovec is communications manager for Southwest Public Libraries. Contact him at email@example.com.