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Owego VFW Post raising money to repair Margaret Hastings grave


OWEGO (WBNG) -- She was a hometown hero when she returned to Owego after serving in World War II, now members of Glenn A. Warner VFW Post 1371 in the Village are working to make sure her grave site is one that is fitting of such a hero.

She is Cpl. Margaret Hastings and she is the subject of the popular book 'Lost in Shangri-La'.

Hastings was involved in a plane crash in New Guinea in 1945 and was one of three survivors out of 24 passengers on board, stranded on the island for weeks before being rescued. In that time she and two other survivors were assisted by a tribe native to the area.

Now members of Post 1371 are raising money to repair her grave-site at St. Patrick's Cemetery, which has become damaged by the elements.

Post member and leader of the project David Bensley explained that she was a true hero when she returned to Owego, and he'd like to see her memorial restored to reflect that.

"When she came back to Owego there was a big village parade, about everybody showed up," he said. "For a couple years after she got back to Owego she went on a tour and met a lot of dignitaries including Dwight D. Eisenhower."

Other members of the post remarked that she was a pioneer among women during her time, and deserved to have her story and her memory preserved.

If you'd like to contribute you can send a check to the post at 207 Main Street in Owego with "Margaret Hastings" as the memo.

Jack Arpey

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