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Oct. 17, 2017

Chandler native shares story of serving as Army nurse during Vietnam War
Maria Luisa Ayala MellmanIn conjunction with the recently aired PBS documentary series, The Vietnam War, Chandler Public Library and Chandler Museum present From Chandler to the Vietnam War: A Conversation with Maria Luisa Ayala Mellman, Army Combat Nurse, at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at the Downtown Library, 22 S. Delaware St. The presentation is part of the ongoing Our Stories speaker series and is free and open to the public. 
Maria Luisa Ayala Mellman traces her roots to the Marquez family, which journeyed from Mexico to Chandler in the early 1900s, eventually opening El Zacatecana grocery store in the City’s Southside neighborhood. She graduated from Chandler High School in 1961, and entered Arizona State University on a nursing school scholarship. In the midst of the turbulent 1960s, Mellman joined the Army Nurse Corp and was stationed at the 12th Evacuation Hospital, northeast of Saigon in 1967. She will discuss her experiences at the hospital and caring for wounded soldiers.
In addition, historian Dr. Christine Marin will provide background on the personal and social impact of the Vietnam War on the Phoenix Valley and many small Arizona towns during the 1960s and early 1970s, including Chandler’s historic Mexican-American community.
With the immense public interest in the Vietnam War PBS series and this resonating period of history, Chandler Public Library hopes to offer the community an opportunity for further exploration, engagement and understanding through the use of film resources. These public forums place a particular emphasis on the local perspectives, expand into broader themes and facilitate civil conversations where attendees can share their own stories and feelings after the first-person accounts and panel presentations.
This edition of Our Stories is offered as part of a grant from the American Library Association, PBS and WETA Washington, D.C. that the Chandler Public Library received in August 2017. Through a competitive application process, the Chandler Public Library was selected as one of 50 libraries around the country and the only library in Arizona to receive the Vietnam War grant, which includes the full 18-hour documentary series on DVD, with public performance rights.

Our Stories presentations are free, open to the public and presented by Chandler Museum and Chandler Public Library, with support from the Chandler Historical Society and Friends of the Chandler Public Library. For more information, call 480-782-2751, or visit