Voiture Local Trois of La Societe, also called the 40 & 8,  performed some triage of their own.  Because the U.S. has a severe shortage of nurses, this independent fraternal organization of wartime veterans  donated 17 scholarships to students who want to go into nursing. This will help boost the number of qualified nurses. 

Voiture Local Trois of La Societe, also called the 40 & 8,  performed some triage of their own.  Because the U.S. has a severe shortage of nurses, this independent fraternal organization of wartime veterans  donated 17 scholarships to students who want to go into nursing. This will help boost the number of qualified nurses. 

The scholarships were awarded at their annual Nurses Training Program Dinner on March 25, Thursday at 7:30pm at the American Legion Post 189, in Lee’s Summit, Missouri on 820 Vista Drive.  Their Nurses Training Program, unique to their organization, was established in 1954 or for 56 years, as a means of ensuring adequate numbers of skilled nurses for our nation in time of war and peace.  The total of nursing scholarships awarded by the Voiture Local Trois is about 560.

 The following individuals will be receiving a $1,000 scholarship for nursing training:

 Deborah Ayers at Children’s Mercy Hospital 

 

 Julie Benson at Avila 

 

 Angela Blaxton at Southwest Missouri State 

 

 Sapphire Gull at Metropolitan Community College 

 

 Natalia Ann John at Research College of Nursing 

 

 Shawna Jones at Brown Mackie College 

 

 Jeffica Lohmayer at Kansas State University 

 

 Aimee King at Missouri State University 

 

 Brittany Neeley at Metropolitan Community College 

 

 Erica Pyle at St. John’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Southwest Baptist       University 

 

 Sarah Malone at Research College of Nursing at Rockhurst University 

 

 Tyler Richardson at the University of Missouri in Kansas City 

 

 Amy Shelton at Metropolitan Community College

 

 Mandy Smock at University of Phoenix

 

 Sharon Van Vleck at  Metropolitan Community College  

 

 Morgan Freitag at Metropolitan Community College

 

 Tiffany Baker at St. Luke’s Nursing School


 Larry Owen, Directeur of Nursing Training Program of 40 & 8 says, “I belong to many organizations and the members know I am always looking for student nurses to receive scholarships.  I receive many referrals just from people I know.” 

 

Shortage of Nurses

 Nurses are in high demand, especially in the community. The need of nurses in hospitals remain the same since the insurance companies shorten the hospital stays due to financial reasons. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimate that by 2020, hospitals will be shy almost 810,000 or about a million nurses.  This means that we are 7% short of nurses today, but in 2020, we will be 29% short. Many older nurses are headed toward retirement.  Nursing schools don’t have enough faculty now and will have even less after many retire.

As the baby boomer generation ages, more nurses for long- term care will be needed.  More nurses are needed for Alzheimer’s patients and for veterans who are brain-injured and paralyzed from the wars. The preventive medicine specialty needs nurses to teach patients of all ages to decrease weight gain to decrease the number of diabetics and complications. With the slow economy, loss of jobs and health insurance, there will be a need for more free health clinic nurses.  Since President Obama’s Health Care Bill of expanding health coverage to millions of the uninsured passed, the demand of nurses may not be met. Many hospitals hire already-trained nurses from abroad. To attract and keep qualified nurses, hospitals may offer signing bonuses, flexible work schedules, or subsidized training.

 Nurses are needed from birth to death. We need nurses in many places:  work places, schools, hospitals, prisons, clinics, home healthcare, doctor’s offices, public health departments, outpatient surgical facilities, outpatient radiation centers, mental health facilities, nursing homes, mid-wives at home, emergency clinics, colleges and universities, etc. Nurses are especially needed in the rural areas and inner cities. Hopefully, the gifts of the 17 scholarships of $1,000 each for nurses-training from the 40 & 8 will help our medical system improve.           



The Forty & Eight

La Societe des 40 Hommes et 8 Chebaux, Voiture Local No. Trois was started by members  of the American Legion at their third National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri on November 10, 1920.

These World War I Legionnaires were looking for a way to have fun and to honor their members for their service to the community, state and nation.  They became Voiture Locale Trois or Boxcar No. 3.  According to John Neger, Chef de Gare,

“We are probably one of only a few Voitures using French for our whole name.”  It draws its name from the Voitures or boxcars built in France between 1872 to 1885 which carried the soldiers in France from the coast to the trenches to fight World War I and II.  The narrow gauged boxcars (Chemin de Fer), stenciled with “40/8”, were half the size of American boxcars and carried 40 Hommes (forty men) et (or) 8 Chebaux (eight horses) to and from war.  The men went through miserable times, even standing in the manure recently left by horses, to keep warm. The men stood for hours in a moving 29’ wide by 9’ wide box. The 40/8 became a symbol of the deeper service, sacrifice and unspoken horrors of war that “bind all who have borne the battle.”

 During 1947, Americans donated  $40 million worth of supplies filling 700 cars to war-torn Europe.  The train called the “American Friendship Train” stopped at many cities from Los Angeles to Omaha to New York and collected food, fuel, medicine and clothing. The French were so thrilled with our generosity that in 1949, they wanted to reciprocate, so they refurbished boxcars and collected gifts on a train called “Merci” or the thank you train, also called the Gratitude Train or Train de la Reconnaissance.

 Over 52,000 gifts totaling 250 tons filled 49 boxcars. Each state received a boxcar from France with one car to be shared between the District of Columbia and the territory of Hawaii since Alaska wasn’t a state yet. Each boxcar had all 44 provincial (county) plaques of France displayed on its sides. 

 
Such items collected given to America were drawings, a home-made dress being sewn when
American soldiers rescued their village, a stuffed toy dog named LouLou from an eleven
year old given to him when he was one years old when his father was a prisoner in
Germany, a jeweled Legion d’Pionneer medal presented to Napoleon, a Louis XV carriage,
worn wooden shoes, tree seedlings, and one of the first motorcycles ever built. A freighter
called Magellan with an enormous banner reading “Merci America” arrived in New York
harbor on February 3, 1949.  Fireboats sprayed water and the Air Force flew above to
celebrate the gift. 
 
It was up to each state government as to how to distribute the boxcars and the gifts. The care
of the boxcars were later placed with an independent veteran’s organization, La Societe des
Quararnte Hommes at Huit Chevaux or the 40 & 8 society.  The Merci cars were placed in
parks, museums, American Legion posts and fairgrounds.  Those in New Jersey and
Connecticut were destroyed by fire and the Colorado car has disappeared.  Others have
been eroded by the weather and have been forgotten.  But today’s surviving 100-year-old
boxcars still can remind us of goodwill which followed the horrors of World War I and II. 
They are a testimony to a great expression of friendship and caring between two cultures of
France and the United States in different geographical locations but who fought side by side
for a common goal half a century ago.
 
Missouri’s boxcar was delivered on a flatcar to Jefferson City since the railroad gauge in
France was narrower than our tracks. It was supposed to be placed on the front lawn of the
capitol but never was. The boxcar was left to rust, was rediscovered and was moved to
Sedalia, at the Missouri State Fairgrounds by Voiture 333 members in 1950.  The artifacts
were also moved to Pettis County Museum. 

 
According to Doran Cart, Curator, “The National World War I Museum obtained a boxcar
from Tennessee but it is in poor condition and can’t be restored and displayed in the new
museum because it won’t fit into the door. The boxcar is in storage.”

 It was up to each state government as to how to distribute the boxcars and the gifts. The care of the boxcars were later placed with an independent veteran’s organization, La Societe des Quararnte Hommes at Huit Chevaux or the 40 & 8 society.  The Merci cars were placed in parks, museums, American Legion posts and fairgrounds.  Those in New Jersey and Connecticut were destroyed by fire and the Colorado car has disappeared.  Others have been eroded by the weather and have been forgotten.  But today’s surviving 100-year-old boxcars still can remind us of goodwill which followed the horrors of World War I and II. 

  Voiture Local No. Trois has 69 members. They hold Promenades (meetings) on the last  Thursday of each month at 6:00pm.  Their other programs besides the nursing training are: supporting American Legion Baseball, child welfare, giving flags to students, providing wheelchairs to veterans, paying for tuition for eight boys to attend Boys’ State, and giving annual awards for Law Officer of the Year and Hero of the Year.  The 40/8 is now composed of veterans from the World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Desert Storm conflicts.  They look forward to meeting new veterans who are interested in carrying on the work of La Societe.