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"Letter to the Editor" published in the Manassas, Virginia Journal Messenger, 12 April, 1953. Drake wrote this to inform the residents of Manassas, Virginia, and at the same time to seek more support. 

Letters to the Editor

'Manassas Manor' Is No More
326th Comm. Recon. Co.
APO 301, c/o P.M.
San Francisco, Calif.
12 April, 1953

Journal Messenger
Manassas, Va.

Dear Sir:
Manassas Manor is no more! Recently we witnessed the passing of our little orphanage, founded on love, built with the sweat and labor of many, and dedicated to the homeless children orphaned by the Korean conflict.

More than a year ago the town of Manassas, Virginia responded to the call for aid for Korean orphans sent by Captain Consolvo, a resident of Manassas, who at that time was the Commanding Officer of the 326th Communication Reconnaissance Company. The company had just adopted 30 orphans and had moved them to a building near the company area.

Inspired by the heartwarming response of the people of Manassas, the men of the company decided to name the home "Manassas Manor" and as such it had grown from the initial lot of 30 children to more than fifty. The months passed by more children came, others left, running away, looking for their relatives.

Finally, came the time when we realized that we could not give the children all he help that was needed. We were furnishing food, clothing and a place to sleep, but while we tried our best to get competent supervisors and teachers for the children we found that more often than not we were "taken", the money misused and the children neglected. We therefore decided to move the children to a larger orphanage located on the outskirts of Seoul.

On the 8th of December 1952, we put 54 children in a 2-1/2 ton truck and all the movable equipment into another and moved everything to the Seoul Sanitarium and Hospital Orphanage. If you could see the children now I am sure that you would agree with us that they are better off than when we had them near the company.

By moving the children to the Seoul Sanitarium and Hospital Orphanage we did not lessen our responsibility. Quite the contrary. We now have 260 children under our care, but the big difference is that the administration and the facilities are so much better than we could ever provide by ourselves.

There are two American women in charge of he orphanage. They are Mrs. Rue and Miss Robson. Mrs. Rue is the wife of Dr. Rue, a medical missionary to Korea while Miss Robinson is the head nurse of the hospital and Director of the School of Nursing. A little more than a year ago the two women decided to try to accommodate a number of orphans that had been taken to the hospital for care. At first they anticipated taking 50 youngsters at the most, as the whole project would have to be supported by outside aid.

Once started though, the number kept increasing. New born infants were left on their doorstep, wandering tykes were brought in by strangers, GIs moving on brought in their houseboys rather than let them go back to the streets, and many of the children came from other orphanages that had to close because of inefficient management or outright thievery on the part of the supervisors. Then we added our lot. Since December we have taken six more children to the orphanage.

How do we get the children you might ask? I'll tell you. A few nights ago I was called to the barbed wire fence to the rear of the company area to investigate a crying child. It turned out to be a small girl of 9 or 10 years. Cry she would but talk she would not. One of the houseboys said that she had been sitting there since early morning (it was now 9 p.m.) and that she had told one of them she was an orphan and wanted food. We took her in and in the morning took her to the orphanage. She is hospitalized at present as she has a severe scalp infection. It is still difficult to entice her to talk but so far we have been able to find out a bit of her story.

It seems that she had been living with a brother (age?) near an army post. When the army unit moved the boy, who had been a houseboy there, had to look elsewhere for food for himself and his little sister. One day he went out and did not return. When hunger got the best of her she "hit the road". That was when we found her. So it goes. Each of the children have comparable stories, just as true yet incredible.

The United Nations Civil Assistance Command () Korea, has given us money to build a school for the children on property located about two miles from the hospital. On the same property is also room for a small farm and a playground. The men of this company are conducting a campaign for school equipment with which to equip the school. This is being done by letters to friends and relatives. Through the medium of newspaper coverage we are soliciting food and clothing for the children.

The financial support for the orphanage has been provided in part by the men of this company at pay call donations. During the past 12 month period the men of this company have contributed over four thousand dollars to the support of the children. A large amount of food and clothing has been received from the U.S. but any mother can tell you just how fast an active youngster can go through a pair of shoes and play clothes. The amount of food they eat keeps us on our toes supplementing their meager rice ration as allotted by the government and the UN.

Yes, Manassas Manor is now an empty building; the glass from the windows is pilfered, the floors are torn up for firewood by someone during the cold winter, and the yard bare and desolate. But the children who called Manassas Manor "home" will not forget it. Already the older ones return to the area to look over the place where they were initially received from the streets and started back on the road to health and happiness.

You people of Manassas have helped rescue these children and you will not be forgotten. We of the 326th Communications Reconnaissance Company wish to extend to all of you our heartfelt appreciation for the aid you have given us. We have taken this opportunity to bring you up-to-date on your former tenants.

Let me say in closing that while the children are no longer living right next door to us they are still in need of help. Any assistance, financial or materially, can be sent to the through the Commanding Officer, 326th CRC, APO 301, c/o Postmaster, San Francisco, California. All packages or letters should be marked "For Orphanage". The Rues and Miss. Robson can be reached through APO 72, c/PM, San Francisco, Cal. (Seoul Sanitarium and Hospital Orphanage).


George F. Drake,
Cpl. RA 12344689




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