'Friends of DeRidder USO' join forces to tell history

DERIDDER -- Some DeRidder area residents are combining to help enhance the War Memorial Civic Center -- the old USO -- in DeRidder.

Roy Ades, 82, is an Army retiree and former director of the Beauregard Parish Tourist Commission. He said over the years, the civic center has received numerous artifact donations, including large collections from DeRidder historian Velmer Smith. The items are on display in the civic center's lobby.

"We're bringing together three quarters of a century accumulation with the USO, people leaving their memorabilia and the Velmer Smith collections and what other people have been bringing in since then," he said.

Ades said volunteers have been busy on item inventory. The hope is to have an interpretive exhibit which narrates the area's war history.

"We came up with a concept that this is going to be an interpretive museum and we're going to show how the Louisiana Maneuvers and the influx of soldiers just before and during World War II, the influence it had in West Central Louisiana," Ades said.

Exhibits will also cover wars and conflicts thereafter.

Those interested in volunteering or helping to raise funds to bolster exhibits can call the War Memorial Civic Center at 463-7212.

The USO, built in 1941, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Location : Central Louisiana
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