"Face With a Name" photo project nears completion - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

"Face With a Name" photo project for Iowans killed in action in Vietnam nearing completion

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JANESVILLE (KWWL) - After nearly two years of making thousands of phone calls and sending emails, Tom Brickman is almost complete with his mission to put a face with a name for every Iowan killed during the Vietnam War.

"I was able to make it home from the war, and I figured this is a way we can honor the families by seeing a face," said Tom Brickman.

It started on Father's Day weekend of 2012 when Brickman, his daughter, and his grandson visited the traveling Vietnam Wall while it was in Washington, Iowa.

Brickman learned about a plan to build an "Education Center at The Wall" at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The center wants photos to go with all the names on the Vietnam Wall. Brickman and his daughter agreed to help find photos for some people in eastern Iowa.

"Well on the way home, my daughter asked how do we go for just our counties. If we're going to do it, let's go for the whole state," said Brickman.

Brickman said 853 Iowans were killed in action during the Vietnam War. When Brickman and his daughter took over the project, they still needed 522 photos. He's worked with libraries, historical societies, and schools.

Less than two years after starting the project, Brickman only needs to find six more photos.

"This close makes you really want to finish the project, but these were the ones I left because I couldn't find the information," said Brickman.

Brickman's daughter posts the photos on the Facebook page: Faces To Go With Names: Iowa's Fallen Vietnam Soliders. She also sends them to Washington, D.C.

Brickman said most people are appreciative of their efforts. One of his most memorable moments is an email sent to a woman in sioux city.

"When she opened the email it was 43 years to that day her mom opened the door to the Army telling her mom that her father died. My daughter wrote we're so sorry, that's terrible timing. She said no that's great timing because after all these years I know he hasn't been forgotten," said Brickman.

Tom Brickman said not forgetting is the meaning of this project. Putting a face to a name so we all remember them and their sacrifice.

The six people Tom Brickman has yet to find photos of for the project are:

James Cook 1LT Army Bettendorf

John Manson PFC Army Des Moines

Dennis May CPT Army Des Moines

David McCombs SSGT Army Oskaloosa

Frank Smith PFC Marine Corps Des Moines

Robert Voss CPT Army Davenport

To contact Thomas Brickman,call 319-987-2523 or email facestogowithnames@yahoo.com.

Besides the Education Center in Washington, D.C., Tom Brickman is also working with the Grout Museum District in Waterloo to put all the photos on display in the veterans museum.
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