Relatives of Staff Sergeant Victor L. Olson located
By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Ah, yes. The newspaper — one of the oldest forms of social media.
And operating in its capacity as a form of social media — The Colfax Messenger has solved a mystery.
In the February 18 issue of the Messenger were two stories.
One story was about the American Veterans (AMVETS) proposing to start a post in Colfax and to name it after a World War II veteran from Colfax, Staff Sergeant Victor L. Olson.
Staff Sergeant Olson was awarded three Silver Stars in World War II, the last one posthumously after he was listed as Killed in Action and Missing in Action following a river rescue in New Guinea on January 28, 1944.
The problem for the AMVETS was that they needed to locate Victor Olson’s family members to obtain permission to name the post after him.
The second story was about Staff Sergeant Olson, the details of the river rescue when he was KIA and MIA, a letter from him published on the front page of the Colfax Messenger, and details of the family from his mother’s obituary.
The story ended by asking readers to contact LeAnn at the Messenger if they had any information about Victor L. Olson’s relatives.
Part of the problem in locating relatives is that Victor’s mother, Elizabeth, was an Olson who married an Olson, Carl J. Olson.
On February 18, the day the Colfax Messenger was delivered by mail to most subscribers, the Messenger received a telephone call from Phyllis Peterson of Colfax.
As it turns out, Phyllis Peterson is a first cousin of Victor Olson’s — and also the last surviving first cousin.
Subsequent telephone calls received by the Messenger, telephone calls to other Olson relatives, and visits from area residents revealed a number of other relatives — the children and grandchildren of Victor’s brothers and sisters and of his mother’s siblings.
Steve Marris of Colfax, one of the AMVETS who spoke to the Colfax Village Board February 9, said he was delighted to have the name of a relative so they could start the process of naming an AMVETS post after Staff Sergeant Victor L. Olson.
Marris said he is doing additional research in military archives about Victor Olson and promised to keep the Messenger informed about his research and their progress in forming the Victor L. Olson AMVETS Post No. 1864.