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Historic Letters Get Responses

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Original Title: Historic Letters Draw Modern Day Response

A news story that first appeared on the Internet in September continues to draw heartfelt response from viewers and readers. "When this story was first published the telephone rang constantly." That's the reaction of Betty Maffei of the Contra Costa History Museum in Martinez. "We have heard from people as far away as Paradise and Manteca.”

The original story was about an elderly Contra Costa County woman named Peggy Ford who during the Vietnam War wrote letters to soldiers in combat. She saved the letters they wrote back to her. Ford died more than 30 years ago, but earlier this year, Ford's children discovered those letters and donated them to the history center.

Those who saw the report responded. "I had seen your show from Contra Costa," said Shannon Peters, 83, of Manteca. His wife Velma had saved more than 200 letters he had written to her from Vietnam when he was stationed there in the later 1960s. "I thought maybe somebody would be interested in those." Indeed, the San Joaquin County Historical Museum has contacted Peters.

While many have offered to donate their letters, it was the kind act of Peggy Ford that prompted others to action. Tanya Venglinsky of West Sacramento said that she plans on starting a modern day letter writing campaign to Sacramento area soldiers serving in Iraq. "It might bring a smile to their face, cookies they can share," Venglinsky told News 10. "You have to say thank you to them in one way or the other."

The Contra Costa History Center is interested mainly in Vietnam-era letters written to or from soldiers from Contra Costa County. Historical center workers suggest contacting your local historical center or museum if you have similar letters. Maffei said such letters are considered priceless pieces of history. "There's nothing that we can write about Vietnam that's better than what these boys wrote."

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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