Mar 5, 2015

Heart Mountain historian to be honored by Daughters of the American Revolution

The Big Horn Basin chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) will honor LaDonna Zall for her contributions and efforts toward the creation of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center. 

Zall will receive the Mabel Brown Cumulative Contribution Award at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Irma Hotel’s Governors Room. The Daughters will meet prior to the ceremony at 10 a.m.

Longtime Heart Mountain Interpretive Center champion LaDonna Zall (right) is being honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution Saturday morning. She is pictured with Interpretive Center Archivist Nicole Blechynden in this file photo provided by the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation.
The award is presented to a women who has contributed significantly to the preservation of area history and Zall is an ideal recipient for such an honor, said DAR member Marylin Schultz, who worked with Zall at Park County Archives.

“She'll be getting a medal and a certificate,” Schultz said. “The joy of being acknowledged for work well done brings a sense of being appreciated.”

Zall worked tirelessly to create a center in honor of Heart Mountain’s inhabitants, who were forced to live there by government order from 1942-45.

“She really contributed more than anyone else to the idea of an interpretive center,” Schultz said. “I think she really earned it (award) and deserves it.”

Zall’s connection to Heart Mountain spans many years. As a young girl, she watched the first trains arrive carrying Japanese-American and Japanese people whose destination was the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Schultz said.


“She represents the heart in the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation with unwavering support and service,” said Brian Liesinger, Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation executive director.

Years later, Zall became a part of the Heart Mountain Foundation from its inception in 1996. Zall has served as the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center’s acting curator for more than 20 years, often without a salary, Schultz said.

Kudos from the center, too.

“She has been a steadfast supporter, volunteer curator, board member and friend for many years,” said Brian Liesinger, Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation executive director. “Because of her devotion to the HMWF, we have dubbed our research facility (housed in the Interpretive Center) the LaDonna Zall Research Center. She represents the heart in the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation with unwavering support and service.”

Zall published a book in 2012 chronicling Heart Mountain internee stories. Another volume is on the way, Schultz said.

In 2013 Zall was nominated for a Wyoming State Historical Society award by the Park County Historical Society for “Tales of Heart Mountain: Short Story Compilation.”

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