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Local man looking for Armco vets

February 23, 2018 Digital Media Exclusive

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A former Armco plant manager wants to reunite 77 veterans or their survivors with photos taken at the plant of the brave employees who served during World War II.

Jerry Puff, who ran the plant from 1985 to 1991, came into possession of a footlong, rectangular cardboard box containing what he considers to be precious photographic evidence of Armco employees' sacrifices during the war.

Puff explained that each faded yellow 4-by-5-inch envelope in the box contains from one to four photos of an Armco employee dressed in his or her military uniform.

He said the mill employed a full-time staff photographer at the time, and employees home on leave, preparing to ship out to boot camp or returning from their tour of duty were invited to have their picture taken at the mill.

Many soldiers, sailors, WACs or WAVEs are pictured smiling with one or more of their proud family members as well.

A large, sturdy negative also accompanies the photos, which are in pristine condition given their age of 70-plus years.

The name of the employee pictured is neatly typed on the front of each envelope, along with the employee's pictured family members, branch of service and presumably the date he or she left for service and the month and year the photo was taken.

Some envelopes include a neatly handwritten note of “discharged” as well.

When Puff studied the eager and bright young faces looking back at him through the fog of time and war, he saw much more than an old-time picture of a grinning soldier or sailor.

“Nobody knows what these people went through,” Puff said. “Imagine yourself in temperatures of 10 below zero in the Arden Forest of Belgium and the Germans just broke through the lines.”

Puff, 76, said now is the time to put on a blitz to find the aged vets or their families.

Puff's photos can be viewed in alphabetical order at www.butlereagle.com.

Those who recognize themselves or a relative can call Puff at 724-586-2441.

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