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Jardine: WWII photo finds family with help from veteran

From the e-mails and voice mails:

GOOD DETECTIVE WORK — In April, Tony Inzana Sr. of Hughson accompanied son Tony Jr. and daughter-in-law Joye to Australia to visit one of Tony Jr.'s friends.

While they were there, the friend, Richard Horwood, brought out a photo of a young American soldier. He'd possessed the photo since his mother died in 1992, and hoped Tony Sr., a World War II veteran, could find the soldier's family back in the United States and give it to them.

"Sure," Inzana said.

Before leaving Australia, though, he was invited by Horwood's father to march with Aussie war vets in the nation's ANZAC Day parade through downtown Sydney. ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps, and is their version of our Memorial Day.

When they got back to the valley early in May, Tony Sr. began making good on his promise. He knew the solder's name was Kenneth Black of Sioux Falls, S.D., that the photo was taken in Australia on Aug. 24, 1942, and that Black had been killed in action in New Guinea four months later.

"I was going to call the military archives," Tony Sr. said. "But I didn't have his serial number."

So, like any good detective in the tech era, he went online and found 58 entries for the surname Black in Sioux Falls. Next, he contacted Sheri Levisay, a reporter with the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader newspaper.

"A half-hour later, she called back to say she'd found his relatives," Tony Sr. said.

Actually, she found Dorothy Black, who married Kenneth Black's younger brother after Kenneth died. Dorothy was thrilled to receive the photograph.

Turns out Kenneth Black had a girlfriend in Australia during the war. The woman was Horwood's mother's sister-in-law, which explains how it came into his possession.

"The story here is that a young man found a picture of a GI and had the sense and the heart to keep it because someone in the States might want it," Tony Sr. said.

For the record, Tony Sr. served in Army beginning in 1942 and emerged as a captain in 1949. After World War II ended, he did military police work and criminal investigations.

CEMETERY VOLUNTEERS — Kudos to those who stepped up to clean up the Oakdale Citizens' Cemetery in time for Memorial Day. Organized by Denise Sawyer, more than 100 members of the Living Hope Fellowship Christian Church and about 30 others interested in helping stepped in on May 23 to clean up the 127-year-old private cemetery. It receives no funding or help from any government agency.

They improved the landscaping, repaired sprinklers, cleaned up trash, and painted the cemetery's office and storage building.

ON THE ROAD — Former Modestan Dave O'Mara is into his second week of a cycling trip across the United States to raise money for Real Options for City Kids (ROCK), a San Francisco-based nonprofit. O'Mara, 33, graduated from Davis High in 1995 and St. Mary's College in 1999. He spent a year volunteering with AmeriCorps in Utah before beginning his career in finance with Metropolitan Life.

After nearly nine years with MetLife, he decided it was time for a change.

"I lost a lot a passion, and when you lose your passion you're doing a disservice to the company and yourself," O'Mara said. "So I took some time off."

O'Mara plans to return to work, for a company much smaller than MetLife, in October.In the interim, he's recharging himself.

While on a bike ride with a friend a few weeks ago, he decided to do a fund-raiser ride for ROCK, choosing the nonprofit because he's done volunteer work for it for several years. He contacted ROCK Chief Executive Officer Curt Yagi, and they got -- literally -- the wheels rolling.

O'Mara began his trip May 22 on the Santa Monica Pier and plans to roll into Washington, D.C. on or about July 9. He dedicated the ride to his Aunt Claire, whom he credits with being a role model as a teacher, missionary and someone who "has spent her entire life working to better the lives of others," according to the Web page dedicated to his ride.

Anyone interested in donating can visit http://followingclairerocksf.org..

ROLE REVERSAL — A different kind of graduation is set for June 7. With their children in the audience, roughly 40 parents will receive their diplomas for participating in the "Parenting Partners" program. It helps good parents to be better parents, and is funded through a federal grant. The parents completed seven sessions, broken into two English language classes and one taught in Spanish. Facilitators included Danielle DeGraff, Amy Knittel, Maureen Lucas, Rose Maberry, Susana Zapata, Agustin Mireles and Heather Griffin.

They covered topics including positive parenting, creating confident kids, communication, boundaries and behaviors, discipline, what children and teens need to succeed and parental involvement for academic success.

Parents in the program have children attending Sisk, Salida and Dena Boer elementary schools and Salida Middle School. This is the program's second graduating class.

Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at 578-2383 or jjardine@modbee.com.

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