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EPHRAIM -- A World War II veteran is donating his collection of memorabilia in hopes of inspiring college students in the future. He gathered the items while flying around the world.
At Snow College Friday, Roger Johnson cut the ribbon to a new exhibit of memorabilia he collected as a pilot during World War II.
"I was always interested in aviation, and I was a flight instructor for a long time. And then I flew in the army, and I was in the flying business later after that, and it meant a lot to me," Johnson said. "I was lucky enough to be in the Air Corps where I wanted to be."
Johnson flew missions over the Himalayas while his wife, LaRue, was an Army nurse.
"Her name was LaRue Tucker, and when she got in the service [she] was nicknamed ‘Taffy Tucker.' So, I got a new airplane overseas and had it named for her, ‘Taffy Tucker,'" Johnson said.
From uniforms to medals and cultural items from around the world, the exhibit offers a glimpse of a critical era in our nation's history.
I wanted to keep it all together, and it would do me no good in my basement.
–Roger Johnson, WWII veteran
"He had, I think, really of vision of preserving it so that people could remember, and that's what his greatest desire is -- that people remember the contribution, not just from him, but the whole generation," said history professor Ralph Brenchley.
For Snow College, Johnson's donation is a significant gift.
"This will be a permanent exhibit here at the college," said Snow College President Scott Wyatt. "It's the first piece of what hopefully will be a more expanded museum and collection that relates to the heritage of America and the heritage of this area."
Johnson, who is now 90 years old, is excited to see his small part in history preserved.
"I wanted to keep it all together, and it would do me no good in my basement," he said. "Here, everybody can see it and hopefully learn a little from it."
It's a chance for future generations to learn from The Greatest Generation.
The exhibit is on display in the Social Science building at Snow College.