1st place award in History category for
Bataan survivors article
lot of people think most of the prisoners died on the march.
Some did, but they were in such bad condition when they got to
Camp O'Donnell, that's when they really started dying.”
Claude Hatch, 200th Coast Artillery
Corners Business Journal”
14-21, 2008 Ed.
Claude Hatch, Robert Williams, and Valentin
Archuleta, San Juan County, New Mexico survivors of the Death
March on Bataan in April 1942, and Lazaro Chavez, who escaped
Bataan to Corregidor, were the subjects of a July 2008 article,
“Living through hell ... for us all”,
written by freelance writer Margaret Cheasebro for the “Four
Corners Business Journal”, a sister paper to the Farmington
At the New Mexico Press Women's State Convention, held April 17
& 18, 2009 in Santa Fe, Ms. Cheasebro won 1st Place in the
History category for both her Bataan article and her piece on a
historical Aztec, New Mexico business.
One of the judges, referring to the Bataan article, said, “This
story was excellent! I really like how you localized the piece
and got in touch with the survivors and their families from your
coverage area. The way you wrote the piece was very moving. By
the end I had tears in my eyes! Wonderful work!”
Ms. Cheasebro walks readers through the 200th Coast Artillery's
arrival in the Philippines; the Government's “Get Hitler First”
policy which left the men on Bataan without reinforcements and
adequate supplies; the men's surrender, imprisonment, and
survival; and finally, their homecoming; all the while avoiding
superfluous verbiage. Indeed, Ms. Cheasebro lets the men tell
Through the veterans and their families, readers are given a
glimpse into the men's mindset during their prisoner of war
“When asked how he survived while others died, he told family
members, ‘I had to stay alive to take care of the younger men.’”
The story was especially meaningful to the family of Robert
“Bob” Williams who lost their father shortly after the article
On May 24, 2009, Lazaro Chavez passed away.
— B. Charley Gallegos, BCMFofNM, Inc.
Connie Gotsch, the state convention's
contest chairman, presents award to Margaret
Cheasebro (right). Photo Courtesy of Margaret Cheasebro.