Dimmitt woman knighted by Italy

Clara Vick
Clara Vick

NewsChannel 10

Dimmitt, Texas - She's one on a very short list of women to be knighted, a Dimmitt woman who has dedicated her life to restoring a World War II Prisoner of War camp in Castro County.

It began in the early 70's, when Clara Vick and several other historians wanted to find the old Italian P.O.W. camp. What they discovered has taken them on a four decade long journey.

What's now farmland was once a P.O.W. camp. All that is left is a chapel and a water tower.

At least 7,000 Italian prisoners were held captive here. They helped to keep Dimmitt alive during the war, building grain elevators and harvesting crops.

Clara Vick says, "They wanted to leave something to show that they had been there and that maybe they made a difference.

As the Italians see it, Vick is the one making a difference. The Italian P.O.W.'s have come to see the memorial and she has gone to see them for their annual reunion. Just last month the Consulate General knighted her in Dallas.

Vick explains, "I didn't even know what knighted was. I still don't know exactly, but I wrote to the Consulate General and told him it shouldn't be me that receives the knighting, it should be the P.O.W.'s."

Despite it's importance, this chapel has seen it's fair share of vandalism. Several thousand dollars have been put into refurbishing it four times from bullet holes, broken glass, and stolen items. It's all thanks to a group of people who are just volunteers who say they will continue their work because it's the least they can do for the P.O.W.'s.

Vick says, "We still think positive and we're going to continue doing what we can. The Italian P.O.W's may never get back, but their families can. It's like anything. This means something to them. This is the strand that binds all of us."

She says her friendship with the P.O.W.'s has become more like a family, and she's the little sister.

Clara Vick plans to return once again to the P.O.W. reunion this October in Italy.