JEFFERSON CITY - The "Missouri Mule" flies again in the newest version of the Missouri Official State Manual -- a tribute to the state's veterans.
Columbia resident George W. Parker is pictured in the latest version of the state reference guide with his World War II B-26 marauder that was named after the mule, the state animal of Missouri.
Parker's photo is one winner in the Official State Manual photo contest which was held by Secretary of State Matt Blunt to emphasize the publication's theme, "Missouri's Patriotism -- Then and Now."
In a statement Monday, Blunt said, "Missouri exemplifies our nation's patriotic spirit. When planning began this spring, I chose to dedicate the Manual to our veterans, as an expression of our state's profound and universal gratitude for their public service to America."
Parker's son G.W. Parker Jr. entered the photo in the contest to honor his father's World War II achievements. Parker "went through pretty serious times," his son said.
Parker was in the Army Air Corps and was shot down several times, but flew 58 combat missions in Europe during World War II. He also volunteered to coordinate air support as Allied troops advanced across Germany.
Of the 300 entries that were sent to Blunt's office, 21 were chosen to be in the manual. The best of show distinction went to Jim Jones of Dawn, Mo., whose photo shows Jones holding his chief petty officer's hat, representing a third of his time in the Navy.
The Secretary of State's office updates the Official State Manual every two years. The state manual, or "Blue Book", is a reference guide for Missouri residents and includes contact information and statistics for all levels of government. "Magnificent Missouri: A Portrait of the Show Me State" was the theme of the 1999-2000 edition of the manual.
The Official State manual is available to Missouri residents by contacting the Secretary of State's office.
BOX: Missouri residents can receive their own copy by contacting the Publications Division of the Secretary of State's Office at P.O. Box 1767, Jefferson City, MO 65102, by fax at 573-526-2790, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.