POW Nativity Scene

ALGONA, Iowa — A nativity scene in Algona draws many from all over to see. And when they come, Marvin Chickering is there to tell them the story.

“As I said, it’s a unique treasure in our community, and we’re so blessed that out of a war we received this nativity scene 71 years ago,” he said.

Marvin is a volunteer at the Prisoners of War Camp Museum in Algona.  Part of his job is to tell the story of how six prisoners of war built this nativity scene more than 70 years ago.

Marvin says this gives him a purpose. Over the past year, he’s suffered from many medical issues, but says doing this labor of love is what gets him through.

“Sometimes I wonder why or how I’ve survived some of those and I guess the Lord isn’t done with me yet, and I feel like this is a true calling for me,” Marvin said.

The scene was built back in 1945.  Its purpose was to give POW’s a sense of hope. Sixty-five half-size figures are spread throughout this room.

For Marvin, he hopes anyone who sees this not only appreciates what these men did for our country, but also what this time of year may stand for.

“Go home and blab, go home and tell the story to others, take extra brochures with you when you go if you wish, just go home and encourage other people to come and see it,” he said.

The scene is open every year from the first Sunday of December through New Year’s Eve.  On Sundays, they’re open from noon to 8 p.m. and Monday through Saturday from 2  to 8 p.m.

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