Project Wants to Put a Face with a Name for Wisconsin Vietnam Vets
Posted: Nov 10, 2008 05:56 PM EST

Eau Claire (WQOW) - A school project is in the works to bring faces to the names of Wisconsin soldiers on the Vietnam Wall. It's called "put a face with a name" and the school is working with the Veterans Memorial Fund to gather photos and stories of the nearly 1,200 Wisconsin soldiers killed in Vietnam.

There are 1,159 names on Washington D.C.'s wall belonging to Wisconsin soldiers. But behind those names, there's so much more.

"I always tell people he thought God put him on this earth to entertain. He was always keeping the class entertained. And after he died we'd run into kids that had been in school with him and all the girls would always say, 'Oh he was so much fun,'" says Betty Mezera, the mother of Terry Mezera who was killed in Vietmam.

Terry Mezera was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War. He was 21 years old when we was called to a dangerous mission overseas.

"They needed someone to go get this captain that had been wounded in the hills of Cambodia. And the guys that were supposed to go wouldn't go because it was too dangerous. So Terry volunteered," adds Betty.

Terry was killed after his helicopter was shot down by a sniper. And while the wall in Washington D.C. serves as a dramatic memorial to soldiers like Terry, a teacher from Medford wants to do more. That's why Bryce Kelley and his students are working to gather pictures and information about Wisconsin soldiers.

"Vietnam to them is as far away as the revolutionary war is to me, and I want to make sure there's not that gap there, that these soldiers are always going to be remembered, that they're more than just names on that wall," says Bryce, a teacher at Medford Middle School.

And he hopes others will get to know the soldiers and the stories of their lives, by visiting the Virtual Wall online. The Mezeras say the website will help keep the memories and the legacy of these soldiers alive.

"To us he isn't dead. He's over there still flying, because you look at that (picture) and there he is. Good memories, wonderful memories," says Betty.

So far, the class has added close to 300 photos to the virtual wall. 

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