Almost quietly, Dunkirk resident Richard Titus has been an advocate for those who have served the United States of America.
For years, Titus would stop by the OBSERVER with information on a local veteran who served in one of the World Wars or numerous other conflicts. He even did a front-page story in 2004 on the National D-Day Memorial, which is located in Bedford, Va.
His latest venture became his third accomplishment with co-author George H. Burns III in publishing another edition of "No One Forgets: Our Fallen Heroes From Our Nation's Fight For Freedom Chautauqua County, NY."
Burns is a Dunkirk native who has been one of the main speakers for a number of years at the city Memorial Day services. His efforts with the book are just as significant.
But Titus did a lot of the leg work. "In 2013, George asked me if I would continue the research of servicemen from the village of Fredonia, town of Pomfret and town of Portland for another printing of 'No One Forgets,' '' he said. "I was not too warm with the idea of starting more research and time that had to be taken to put together the stories, details and photos it would take. After thinking it over, I changed my mind."
For Titus and the others, it was a labor of love. The third edition book is 336 pages and includes contributions from Alan Whiting, Ph.D., Ryan C. Deas and John Fedyszyn, who also is an OBSERVER contributor.
In 2011, the first edition of the book, 200 pages, was released. In the spring of 2012, a second edition was published. "George and I had added to that printing the stories and names of a few more servicemen from the northern Chautauqua County area who never returned home to their loved ones after World War II ended," Titus said. "That book was well received and many people told me that they read the book from cover to cover."
On the cover of this edition of the book is George D. Mayott, second lieutenant of the U.S. Army Air Forces. Mayott died on Dec. 9, 1944, after his B-17 made a crash landing near Kaplice, Czechoslovakia. He and five other crew members were captured and later murdered in a ditch by a Nazi officer who was later sentenced to death by hanging in the Nuremberg trials in 1945.
Besides the Internet and reaching out to families, microfilm of the OBSERVER in the 1940s assisted Titus in gathering the information. "In doing the research, starting in 1999 until the present, the people I have met, their memories of the war years, their personal sacrifices and unity in winning the war on the home front are memories I will never forget."
Titus' efforts, as well as those by Burns, Deas, Whiting and Fedyszyn, keep memories of these local heroes alive for community residents for years to come.
For those seeking copies of the book, it can be found at the Dunkirk Free Library, Papaya Arts on the Boardwalk, the Dunkirk Historical Society, Dunkirk Lighthouse and by calling Titus at 366-7295.
John D'Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 366-3000, ext. 401.