WINTHROP — Two many years in the past, an abandoned household in Orange, California, that contains several hundred labeled pics tied to central Maine was about to be demolished. But the photos were being saved and were a short while ago supplied to the Winthrop American Legion.
It’s an specially meaningful discovery for legion users as Memorial Working day methods.
“I acquired a contact from a gentleman in California about two months ago,” Winthrop American Legion Submit Adjutant Robert Dawson Jr. explained in an job interview this past 7 days. “He had traced us down based mostly on a research of our American Legion Article in Winthrop.”
Eric Zaragoza of Huntington Seashore, California — himself a Navy veteran and retired law enforcement officer who nevertheless will work at his nearby station — mentioned he discovered the image just after receiving a phone from a close friend who operates in development. He informed Zaragoza that the property was fully gutted and that he had to get rid of all the things in the garage, and asked if he needed to take a appear at every little thing inside of.
“While I was there I uncovered that box,” he claimed. “It looked like a substantial cigar box that experienced pictures and other memorabilia, but there wasn’t much extra in there than photographs. I advised him he most likely should not get rid of it, and he mentioned he didn’t have time to mess with any of that things and that he was just likely to toss it.”
Intrigued by the prospective historic significance of the shots, Zaragoza took the box residence, in which it sat in his garage for about two many years.
“We’re shifting to Virginia,” he stated, “so we have been clearing all the things out. The box had been there, I’ve witnessed it off and on dozens of times. I eventually opened it up and appeared at it and I noticed stuff from the American Legion Put up in Winthrop.”
Zaragoza is also a member of the American Legion, and was significantly drawn to the image of Alfred W. Maxwell Jr., the Winthrop Legion’s namesake, throughout a Memorial Working day Parade in 1942, specifically 80 yrs back, as it was 1 of the clearer pictures. He then reached out to the Winthrop American Legion and sent the photographs.
A box complete of hundreds of photos then arrived in mid-April, and are at present in possession of Article Historian Valerie Guevara.
Guevara ideas to meet with the Winthrop Historic Society inside of the up coming handful of months to focus on and catalog the pictures.
“The vast majority of the pics are personalized in character,” reported Dawson. “There were being several sleeves that referenced the American Legion Article and Alfred Maxwell Jr.”
Members of the Winthrop American Legion believe that that the photographs have been owned by Russell Mundi, a near buddy of Maxwell’s.
“We feel that Russell Mundi Jr. moved to Orange, California, and that the photos may perhaps be his,” mentioned Dawson. “The home that he lived in had been deserted for many yrs and the photos had been located about two years in the past through demolition.”
As of Thursday, the Legion is in the process of attempting to locate and get in touch with Mundi Jr.
Alfred Winthrop Maxwell Jr. was born on Dec. 3, 1920. He grew up in Winthrop, graduated from Winthrop Large College, and attended Hebron Academy. Maxwell enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942, at 21 decades previous.
Maxwell was one of 16,000 marines who left New Zealand in 89 ships for the Solomon Islands in July 1942.
And in early August, he was portion of the the to start with amphibious assault of the Pacific Theater on Guadalcanal and Tulagi. Maxwell was mortally wounded, and succumbed to his injuries on Sept. 10, 1942.
Just about six many years later, his body was returned to the United States to the treatment of the American Legion Submit, and is currently interred at the Glenside Cemetery in Winthrop.
Since his dying occurred just months just after the Memorial Day parade in the photo, Dawson claimed they now likely possess the previous photo taken of Maxwell.
Zaragoza, nonetheless, did not know the photograph held this kind of significance, and was confused when he observed out.
“I was in the armed forces for 36 decades,” he claimed, “and never in just one day was I in harm’s way, and that is the truth of the matter. It was a amazing experience, and my hat is normally off to those people fellas who sacrifice so much for us to have the everyday living that we do. I had no clue which is who that picture was which is fantastic to listen to.”
“(Maxwell) was the to start with Winthrop, Maine, casualty of Environment War II,” stated Dawson. “His lifestyle and legacy echoes the primary pillars of the American Legion.”
Alfred experienced two siblings. His more youthful brother, Robert, served as a employees sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps throughout Planet War II and died in 1990. His sister, Ann (Carlee), was an lively member of the Winthrop American Legion Publish Auxiliary and invested time operating for Sen. Lyndon Baines Johnson in Washington, D.C. She died in 2011.
Alfred was not married and experienced no little ones that the Legion is informed of. Dawson explained they have not identified any grandchildren among this line of the household.
Dawson mentioned the discovery was unanticipated, and that it delivers significant historical worth to Write-up 40. He explained they are now doing the job to doc and notify his story, incorporating that they have just begun the endeavor.
“This is a substantial present to the put up,” he said. “Over the many years our reminiscences relating to certain people fade. It is not terrible or intentional it’s just the way life is. Most of our members almost certainly only know that he was the to start with Winthrop son to be killed in action in the Second World War. Outside of that, he has been a lot a stranger. This photo presents the possibility to alter that dynamic.”