Book tells stories of veterans honored with plaques on local campus

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WACO, Tx (KWTX) A Central Texas man spent 15 years digging into the stories of fallen veterans whose sacrifices are honored in plaques affixed to lampposts across the Baylor University campus.

Pvt. Donald Hinds died in Holland during World War II. (Courtesy photo)

Since 1947 Baylor has honored fallen veterans of U.S. conflicts starting with World War II.

More than 140 of the black, shield-shaped plaques are mounted on lampposts across the station, each bearing the name of a fallen veteran, the veteran’s rank, years at Baylor, and date of death.

Frank Jasek, a staff member at Baylor, decided 15 years ago to write a book that told the stories of each service member whose name appears on a plaque.

“They gave their life for our freedom, we are here, we can go to school, and we can elect our president,” he said.

Jasek says his search wasn’t easy.

He started with public military documents, and then tried to track down family members, which often led to a dead end.

Sometimes he got lucky, though.

That was the case with Pvt. Donald Hinds.

Hinds was killed in Holland during WWII.

“His brother contacted me and met me here at campus, and he talked about his brother, and brought me his diary and letters that he sent.”

The journal entries revealed a great deal about the fallen soldier.

“Oh he’s got the greatest sense of humor you could ever imagine when you read this diary. It’s fantastic he has little cartoons in here constantly.“

Through his research, Jasek found that although the war, the time, and the enemy were different, each soldier expressed the same feelings.

“They were away from families, in a foreign place they, you know, didn’t know what was going on. Weapons were different sure but it was still the same,” said Jasek.

“Soldiers of the Wooden Cross” is available at some area bookstores and on Amazon for $35.

All of the proceeds benefit The Soldiers of the Wooden Cross Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Waco Foundation.

Donations may also be made to the fund.