By Max Peterson
Yelm has always been a patriotic city. The city’s proximity from Fort Lewis ensures that many of the citizens are connected to the military in one way or another. Therefore, during World War II, Yelm was largely connected with the war effort and contributed what it could. In the local newspaper, the Nisqually Valley News, nearly every issue held a page long advertisement to rally people for scrap drive contributions and a general hatred toward the enemies. Much of the propaganda, as many kinds do, shows the enemy in a completely bad light, and instead of educating the populace as to why they attacked us, generates a misunderstanding of them and their culture. But it worked, and the people of Yelm contributed all they could. One ‘war chest fund’ grabbed the US military $175.07, a number over their quota. An example of the extent of the patriotic interests of Yelm was the column “News from the Front Lines”, that was run in
nearly every issue of the Nisqually Valley News (NVN ) during the years of the war. Written by NVN editor E. K. Fristoe, this column ran almost every issue of the local newspaper, and it reported on the various families who had their sons taken away for the war effort.
The biggest contributing, and easily the most reported on, patriotic organization in Yelm was the Navy Mothers of Yelm. They contributed most out of all the organizations reported on, and according to The Story of Yelm written by Richard and Floss Loutzenhiser, one bond drive “netted them $6,000”.
The Navy Mothers of Yelm was established on August 10th, 1942, 8 months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The officers were Mrs. Leona Brown, commander; Beulah Wilson, 1st vice commander; Lora Isom, 2nd vice commander; Louise Rhota, adjutant; Esther Justman, finance officer; Carrie Lewis, chaplain; Hilda Johnson, judge advocate; Mary Alongi and Elsie Herness, matrons at arms; Jane Sokolik and Beulah Schultz, color bearers. The club set up local bond drives, held meetings regularly, and on one occasion, made bandages to send off to the serviceman receiving hospital in Oakland.
Yelm was (and is) a very patriotic city. During World War II the Yelmites contributed all they could to ensure a victory for the US, through the successful scrap drives, the Navy Mothers of Yelm’s contribution, and the constant coverage and advertisements for the war in the local newspaper shows that Yelm cared and wanted to help.