In 1943 artist Francis V. Kughler, Hudson River Museum Director H. Armour Smith and Women’s Army Corps recruiter Joanne Coates conceived a plan to encourage women of Yonkers to enlist in the army and honor their contribution. Every Yonkers woman who joined the WACs would have her portrait made in oil or pastel by Kughler.
When Irene Wrambel left her job at the Kress five and dime store to join the WAC in 1944, her big brother, TSgt. Eugene Wrambel, was in the Army, stationed in South Dakota. Like many Yonkers veterans of World War II, she and her brother were first generation Americans—their father was a baker from Poland.