LEWISTON — A program titled “Franco Americans: A Bridge to International Diplomacy” is scheduled from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, at the archives and in the foyer at University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College to spotlight and capstone the veterans collection.

A comprehensive review of the archives in the Franco-American Collection at the LAC Madeleine Giguere resource room gave focus to a century of military history information provided by veteran donors. In the collection of artifacts, assorted historical memorabilia and data, the depth of the veterans’ experiences gave evidence to the important contributions Maine’s Franco Americans have made in American history and military campaigns.

As a result of a grant received from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Franco-American veterans of all ages were encouraged to offer their histories in the form of memorabilia, family photographs and official records for digitization. A festive “digitization day” was held in late October 2016 at LAC for the purpose of scanning and creating a public record of the hundreds of military experiences contained in the scans. 

As it turned out, the impressive data collected during the course of the project provided a century of historical information, dating to the First World War, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and women in the war effort. It also included modern military campaigns in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Our volunteer board worked collaboratively with the University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn College and with dozens of veterans to collect the data we are including in our community program,” said Auburn’s Doris Bonneau, president of the Franco-American Collection Board. “We consider the May program to be a capstone, to review the highlights of our collective efforts.”

This program is free and open to the public.

A program and presentation will be held in the conference room, given by guest speakers, who will present the information in an interactive forum. A reception and recognition are planned to recognize those who helped to contribute to the project. 

Special guests will be Ambassador Charles Franklin Dunbar of Brunswick, introducing the guest and honored speaker, Col. Donald Dubay, USA-Ret., who will describe his historic service with the U.S. Army. They will speak in both French and in English to briefly describe their shared experiences serving with the United States diplomatic missions in the Middle East.

Dubay is a native of Lewiston, grew up in Auburn and is a graduate of Edward Little High School and the University of Maine in Orono. He and his wife, Gail Schnepf Dubay, live in North Carolina and visit Maine frequently. During his Army career, Dubay served during the Vietnam and First Gulf wars, as well as in the Middle East.

Students from Edward Little High School, where Dubay graduated in 1960, will attend the program, under the supervision of Assistant Principal Erik Gray. Attending from the University of Maine in Orono will be representatives from the Franco-American Centre Susan Pinette and Lisa Michaud, who will participate as guests to welcome Dubay.

Donald Dubay


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