History books going on sale, to benefit museum and society

By Thaddeus Miller / tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comFebruary 7, 2013 

About 150 Los Banos High School students since 2001 have contributed to a series of books about local history, and those books will soon be for sale.

"This is all generated, the whole thing, by high school students," said history teacher Tim McNally.

The Westside Community Foundation, a nonprofit, awarded McNally and his students $1,000 to print copies of the five titles, which will be sold to benefit the Los Banos High School History Society and the Milliken Museum.

Alina Gutierrez, an 18-year-old senior, is editing the latest book and has contributed as a writer. Working on the newest book during her lunch break Tuesday, Gutierrez said she spends much of her free time on it.

"I like writing, so it's good practice, I guess," she said. "It's fun for me."

Part of the appeal is the investigative process of poring over newspaper archives and asking questions of long-time residents, she said. "You can't just Google it," Gutierrez said.

McNally's students started with "Los Banos' Greatest Generation," about servicemen in World War II, and moved on to books about veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam War, soldiers killed in the service and the odds and ends of local history.

Local historian and Milliken Museum Society member Charles Sawyer, who died in May, was an integral part in the creation of many of the books, McNally said. So, he pledged half of the profits to the museum.

"Westside Stories" is a compilation of columns that have run in the Enterprise that originated from readers' question, like "Are there really crop circles in Los Banos?" "How did Dinosaur Point get its name?" and "What was Dogtown?"

The lives of veterans of the Korean War, Vietnam War and those killed while serving were chronicled in "A Generation Remembered," "Heroes Remembered" and "Some Gave All," respectively.

McNally's students are working on another book about the wives, girlfriends and children of servicemen.

The Westside Community Foundation is a public foundation, which means it is supported by public donations, as opposed to a single donor or organization. The foundation's board works as a facilitator for donors.

Board member Mike Amabile said the foundation wanted to ensure the legacies and experiences of the Westside residents in the books were not forgotten.

"We really think that it's important that that history is told," Amabile said. "We think it's a very worthy cause."

The club is aiming to have the books ready by March 15, and available for sale at Los Banos High, (209) 826-6033, and the Milliken Museum, (209) 826-5505.

To submit questions to McNally's students, which may appear in the Ask Us column in Enterprise, email him at tmcnally@losbanos usd.k12.ca.us.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos

enterprise.com.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.

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