World War II Veterans Video Project & Exhibit

With Donna Nemsick at the helm BSHS has launched a project capturing the memories and experiences of some of our area World War II veterans. In a kickoff announcement President Ronda Lawhon said, “Our country has a proud history of men and women willing to do whatever it takes to defend our country and its values. The Society is privileged to be part of this project that will tell the stories of some of these veterans.”


This video project honors our veterans and insures their stories live on to educate future generations. All of these stories, whether of valor on the battle field or of serving their country in places out of the limelight, have a place in our history.

Our Plan:   Through contacts with Bonita City Councilman Steve Slachta and the Bonita Springs Veterans Advisory Committee the Veterans’ Project and others, we are meeting with veterans who are willing to tell their stories. Time is running out to capture these stories, and many World War II veterans have been reluctant to share their memories. Perhaps with an eye to the troubled times we live in or to the anniversary of the War’s conclusion or to a feeling that their stories need to be told, veterans have stepped forward to take part in this video project.

Our Crew:   David Grossi is serving as interviewer. Grossi, a decorated Vietnam veteran and retired law enforcement officer, now works as a law enforcement trainer and consultant. He is a past president of the Bonita Springs Veterans Advisory Committee. More than his impressive resume, Mr. Grossi brings to this task a sensitivity and insight that are essential to this role.

Video production is being handled by Antonio Correia. Mr. Correia is an award-winning video producer with over 20 awards. In addition to managing his company Bonita Video Productions, Mr. Correia oversees the city’s Government Access Channel and serves as chair of the Bonita Springs Film Festival.

Our Goal: Our goal is to preserve part of World War II history through the telling of stories of those who took part in it. History is served and preserved not only by text books but also by the telling of experiences of those who fought. We will share these videos both at the Liles Hotel History Center, with schools, civic, veterans and other interested groups.

We would like to especially thank
Bob Gillette for his extraordinarily generous contribution that is making this project possible.

Special thanks to:

David Grossi - Interviewer
Antonio Correia - Producer/Videographer
Donna Nemsick - Program Chair
Terraces of Bonita Springs
Cecil's Copy Express
DeRomo's Gourmet Market and Restaurant
The Prado Stadium 12 and Mark Clement

Profound thanks to the participating WWII veterans:
Joseph Bacon           Victor Buckett
Raymond Filmore     Mario Grossi
Myron Kratzer          Alan Moir
Bill Pace                   Lloyd Rauch
George West

We welcome additional contributions to this project. For more information, call Donna Nemsick at 239-498-7979 or Jane Whitehead at 239-390-2092.

Check out our WWII displays in conjunction with the Veterans Video Project
at the Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park.

These videos of interviews of local WWII local veterans below were produced by the Bonita Springs Historic Society.

Bonita Springs Greatest Generation, In their own words.
20 minute overview

Bonita Springs Greatest Generation, In their own words.
1 hour overview

Joseph "Clyde" Bacon
PFC, US Army
Clyde Bacon initially served as a tank instructor assigned to an Armor Unit at Fort Knox, Kentucky and later as a Signal Corpsman in New Jersey. After his stateside duties ended, was reassigned as an Infantryman in England, France, Belgium and later Germany.

Victor Buckett
Yeoman 2, US Navy
Vic Buckett was one of only a handful of survivors from the USS Indianapolis, the destroyer that delivered the components for the atomic bomb.  When his ship was torpedoed killing a good portion of the sailors on board, Vic went overboard. For four days, they waited in those shark-infested waters for a rescue.

Raymond Filmore
Corporal, US Army
Corporal Ray Filmore was just 18 years old when he entered the US Army.  He was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division, 89th Field Artillery Battalion based in the Pacific Theater of Operations. His state side posts included time in Georgia, Alabama and California, and overseas duties in the Philippine Islands.

Mario Grossi
Staff Sergeant, US Army
SSGT Grossi had just turned 19 years old when he was drafted.  He was part of the 4th wave of soldiers that landed on Omaha Beach after D-Day.  His unit fought their way across Europe and participated in the Battle of the Bulge.  He unit liberated the infamous Wobbelein Concentration Camp in Germany.

Myron Kratzer
Tech Sergeant, US Army
TSGT Myron Kratzer was a chemical engineer/scientist assigned to work on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico during the middle part of World War 2.  His unit, working in secrecy, was instrumental in the development of the atomic bombs that helped bring an end to the war in Japan.

Alan Moir
First Lieutenant, US Army Air Corps
1st Lieutenant Alan Moir in essence toured the world as part of a flight crew, flight instructor and communications officer for the US Army Air Corps.  His overseas posts during the war included Paris, London, Scotland, Iceland, the Azores, Newfoundland, Africa and numerous state side posts.

Bill Pace
Staff Sergeant, US Army Air Corps
SSGT Bill Pace was a belly gunner on a B-17 that was shot down over Germany.  Bill was ejected out of his plane when it split apart. Due to the confines of the ball turret, he couldn’t wear the chute, so he tossed it in the bubble. When he hit land he was captured and spent the last part of the war in two German POW camps.

Lloyd Rauch
PFC, US Army
Lloyd Rauch was part of a squad that led an advance into Germany, and who helped liberate the infamous Dachau Concentration Camp.  During that operation, Lloyd spoke of opening a sliding door of a box car at the camp and being smothered by the rotting bodies that poured out.

George West
Tech Sergeant, US Army
Infantry TSGT George West was a recipient of the Silver Star for gallantry, our nation’s third highest medal for valor.  His posts during the war included duties all throughout Europe. His citation recalls how he became a “one-man patrol” after almost his entire unit was wiped out during a mortar attack in Germany.

IMG_2288 copy