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Valles Mines, Missouri, U S A
Founded in 1749 by Francois Valle in the French Upper Louisiana before Lewis and Clark. 275 years later the Valle Mining Company's 4000+ acre property every year absorbs 21,000 tons of carbon dioxide and generates
14,000 tons of oxygen, enough to meet the needs of 63,000 people. [USDA Forest Facts]
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Mina C. Harrison - Red Cross volunteer and Charitable Fund Raiser

Mina 1945 Mina 1965

"It's funny how Bill and I met during the war. I mean, I was assigned to a field hospital with no patients yet and he was assigned to an army with a General Staff Headquarters and no soldiers yet. Or so I thought. He had already met Patton but he was sworn to secrecy. Turns out he spent a lot of time trying to track where our unit was for months and how I was doing in a front line combat field hospital. He had trained for battle. I was a volunteer. Well, they gave me $200 a month later.

Never thought in a million years that I would end up marrying him after the war."

"So we Red Cross women were bivouacked together but we weren't deployed, eveyone was just waiting for the invasion and we were running out of, should I say, supplies we needed and I heard no one was listening at the Quartermaster's so I took it upon myself to find the head of the show and give him a piece of my mind.

So after making some enquiries of my own, and believe me, every GI was a girl's best friend then, I found out the place to go was the General Staff Headquarters. So I made my way there and found the door marked Supply and went in to make my case. The guy at the desk out front did not want some red-haired young girl telling him his business so I guess it got a little heated and then this door on the back wall opens and out comes this handsome young colonel who says, "What's all the racket about?" and then we locked eyes and that was all I could say. "Your request is duly noted, young lady." I identified myself and my unit and left, gritting my teeth about that ass I had just met. I thought that would be the end of it. How little I knew. But as I found out months later, he had turned to the clerk at the front desk after I walked out and said, "I'm going to marry that woman".

When I got back to my tent my superior, for reasons not like her, was waiting for me. Before I could get it out how I had met this complete jackass and how horribly he had treated me, she said, "You'll be going out with Colonel Harrison tonight. He just called and wanted to meet you under better circumstances. Be ready at 5PM."

Following her heroic WW II contribution, Mina continued her Quaker school (Friends Academy, Philadelphia) work as a volunteer, adding momentum to her charitable work with her conversion to Catholicism by Msgr. O'Neill.
  • starting the volunteer Candy-Stripers at Children's Hospital,
  • starting the St. Louis Children's Zoo Zoo's Who ("Adopt-Your-Favorite-Animal" Badges) fundraiser ($1.2 million) with Zoo Director Marlin Perkins (opened 1969, closed 2020) to make it possible,
  • starting the Washington University Faculty Club restaurant in the Whittemore House for faculty, staff, and friends,
  • starting the James S. McDonnell USO at the STL Airport
  • all the while keeping her Red Cross membership active and raising money for various charitable functions,
  • for instance, to supply young people starting their first jobs with alarm clocks after hearing repeated complaints from employers, through the Tandy Substation (in Tandy Park). This echoed the sign hanging in WWII in Patton's 3rd Army Supply Section, "Nothing is Too Good For Our Men". Mina was never an "Isn't everybody rich?" socialite, starting the "Alarm Clock" program in the Tandy because kids with their first jobs showed up for work hours late because no one in the house had an alarm clock. This may seem ridiculous to many in the suburbs, but if you were poor, it had lifetime results. Nowadays everyone has a cellphone, but back then, it was a Big Deal.

Always one for working without credit, this gravestone in Jefferson Barracks is all that commemorates her many efforts. Ironically, because she had altered her sister's birth certificate to join the war effort, she could not get a passport or Social Security in her old age. Her own death insurance from WWII, still a valid policy 42 years later, paid for her funeral so she could be interred with her husband in Jefferson Barracks. [Historical note: Mina served as the president of the Valle Mining Company from 1983 until 1987.]