"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.
'Manassas Manor' Is No More
326th Comm. Recon. Co.
APO 301, c/o P.M.
San Francisco, Calif.
12 April, 1953
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
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
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
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).
FOR THE ORPHANAGE COMMITTEE:
George F. Drake,
Cpl. RA 12344689