2 photos of Vietnam veterans will finish N. Utah collection

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A Hawaiian woman’s search for veterans’ photos across the country is nearly completed in Northern Utah counties. Two photos still remain.

As a volunteer helping the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for the last four years, Janna Hoehn has been working her way east, trying to gather photos from every Vietnam veteran who died in the war. She has collected over 1,500 photos from 10 states.

When the story of Hoehn’s search for photos of deceased Vietnam veterans was published in August, there were three veterans without a photo of the total 43 from Weber County who died in Vietnam. Shortly after that publication, Hoehn received the three missing photos from families around Ogden.

There was also one photo missing for a veteran from Cache County, and that photo has also been found.

From Davis County, there are 27 veterans who died in Vietnam, and several photos have been sent in or found by Hoehn herself since August. At that time, eight veterans lacked any photos, but six photos were sent in and attached to the veterans’ names on the Wall of Faces website.

“I’m doing really well with Utah, the response was so great. I just love it when that happens,” Hoehn said.

Two veterans, Phillip J. Krek Jr., from Bountiful (1946-1968), and Randy L. Mathias, from Bountiful (1949-1968), are the only veterans from Northern Utah, who died in Vietnam, without a picture.

Many of the photos were sent in by families, Hoehn’s most-preferred photos because of the typically higher quality, but Hoehn also was able to find many photos for Davis County veterans by contacting schools to search for yearbook photos.

Last of all, Hoehn checks obituaries, but she said that she hasn’t done that for Utah yet because obituary photos from the ’60s and ’70s are low-quality.

Hoehn still has a lot of work left in the state of Utah — she started with 162 missing photos from Salt Lake County veterans and has found photos for all but 30. 

“I kind of feel like I am hitting a wall now, but, you know, I don’t ever give up, never,” Hoehn said. “Luckily, you know, Utah’s been good to me. I really mean that.”