On the 22nd panel of the western portion of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., the names of two Arkansans are etched next to each other.
Danny Baker of Atkins and Hiris Blevins of Little Rock were both killed June 17, 1969 -- Baker in Kontom province and Blevins in Quang Nam.
Their names appear on the black wall in identical, nondescript white type. Baker is on line 62; Blevins is on line 63.
Online, it's a different story.
There's a photograph of Blevins in a foxhole on the virtual "Wall of Faces," maintained by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund on its website. His sister, son and a friend have written tributes that appear below his picture.
Under Baker's name, there's only generic messages written by strangers, and in place of a photograph, a black square with the inscription: "We need your help finding this person's photo."
As of last week, Baker was one of 121 Arkansans for whom no photo appeared, but a Hawaii florist is working to change that.
Janna Hoehn of Maui is one of several volunteers going state by state searching for photos of soldiers killed during the Vietnam War.
She's in a hurry, because at some point the online photo gallery will move into a museum that will be built on the National Mall in Washington. So Hoehn is making the same plea in Arkansas that she's made in more than a dozen other states: Please send photos.
"It just breaks my heart that we have wonderful photos for some and nothing for others," Hoehn said in a phone interview.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund has attained approval to build an "interactive learning facility" directly across the street from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial.
Now the foundation is trying to raise the $130 million needed to construct the education center, which will be underground to avoid blocking sight lines across the National Mall. About $42.5 million has been raised, said memorial fund spokesman Heidi Zimmerman.
In addition to the photos of the more than 58,000 people listed on the Vietnam memorial wall, the center will display some of the hundreds of thousands of mementos left at the wall by family members and friends. Using voices of Vietnam veterans, fundraisers hope the center will provide a broad historical account of the war.
Organizers hope the Wall of Faces will include photos of all 595 Arkansans killed in the war. That's more likely than one might think, as volunteers have already found photos for every service member killed from 24 other states, Zimmerman said.
"We have incredible volunteers all across the country who are working on this project," Zimmerman said. "We also collect a photo or two at almost every The Wall That Heals, our mobile replica Wall, stop. To date, we've collected photos for 53,616 service members."
Hoehn helped complete 13 of those states, and she lacks only a handful of photos from Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma.
Her process is the same in each state. She contacts media outlets to try to get the names that are missing faces into the public. Then, she starts with libraries to search old obituaries for the people who still lack portraits.
Each state presents its own set of challenges, Hoehn said. In Louisiana for example, Hurricane Katrina destroyed many of the remaining photos of Louisiana natives killed in action during the Vietnam War.
Many times she has a crew of volunteers in the states. She calls them her "boots on the ground."
She's already begun receiving submissions from Arkansans. Lester King, 70, of Bradford sent Hoehn several photos of his brother, Johnny, after a friend showed him a newspaper clipping with Hoehn's contact information. Johnny King was killed on April 8, 1968.
King said his brother's death "tore up" his family, but he added that the Wall of Faces display is a "very nice" tribute.
When Hoehn first began her efforts, a fundraiser told her it was unrealistic to expect to find photos of every American service member killed in Vietnam. She took that as a challenge, and she has every intention of finding photos of all soldiers like Baker.
Hoehn asks any family members or friends with photos of fallen service members to ensure those photos have been included in the online gallery.
A searchable database can be found at: vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/.
If no photo appears or the photo is poor quality, pictures can be emailed to Hoehn at firstname.lastname@example.org. She said any Arkansans who want to help her locate missing photos also can contact her.
Volunteers are always helpful, she said, especially for locating pictures of the last few casualties from each state.
"This is the most worthwhile work I've done in my life," Hoehn said.
This is a list of Arkansans killed in the Vietnam War for whom the Wall of Faces has no photograph. Family members or friends with photos can send them to email@example.com.
Britt Tell Jr.
Richard Wilson Jr.
Fred Craddock Jr.
Joe Hibbler Jr.
Hot Spring County
Vernon Brown Jr.
Henry Kertis Jr.
McElree Mays Jr.
Willie Morgan Jr.
James Brown Jr.
Sevier Gray Jr.
James Northern Jr.
Alvin Gordon Jr.
Le Young Jr.
Willie Green Jr.
Otis Jones Jr.
Willie Pippins Sr.
Ben Sheppard Jr.
Joel Williams Jr.
St. Francis County
Delmar Crockett Jr.
Ledell Johnson Jr.
Fred Bridges Jr.
Metro on 10/22/2017
Print Headline: Search's goal is photos of fallen; 121 of state’s not in Vietnam array