Pickerington Boy Scout Seeks Veteran's Stories
November is the month we remember our Veterans. A Pickerington Boy Scout is trying to ensure that those memories last a long time. Kyle Miller is spending much of his time these days interviewing World War Two vets about their service.
On this warm, sunny Saturday afternoon, 16-year old Kyle Miller visits Wesley Glen Retirement Center in Worthington where he talks with 91-year old Ralph Stacy about his Army service during World War Two.
Kyle: âWere you deployed to Europe?â?
Ralph: âI got over there just in time for the Battle of the Bulge.â?
Kyle: âLucky you.â?
The Battle of the Bulge is one of Kyleâs favorite subjects since learning thatâs where his great-grandfather fought. That, coupled with an interest in history and the military led Kyle at the age of 12 to join the Litsinberger Chapter of Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. Kyleâs mother Margot, says the group fully embraced him.
âThey are his friends. He has become very close to them. He has done eulogies at their funerals.â?
Now Kyle is collecting the stories of other veterans like Ralph Stacy as part of his project to earn his Eagle, the highest rank in Boy Scouts. Kyleâs goal is to collect and preserve the stories of one-thousand veterans. To do that, his dad, William says, Kyle has enlisted the help of other Scouts.
âThe goal behind an Eagle project is to have a demonstration of leadership, of being able to demonstrate organizational skills and to deliver service to the community in some shape or form.â?
One of the scouts recruited by Kyle to help is 12-year old Ethan Keller.
âThere are a lot of veterans out there that we havenât gotten to yet and some still have to be discovered so thatâs why Iâm helping to do this Eagle Scout project.â?
In the course of their work, the boys discovered 90-year-old Wib Justi who servedÂ in the army in Saipan and Guam.
âEverything was new, of course, for a person who had never been in army combat before and to go a different part of the world which as a farm boy without much money Iâd never had the opportunity to goâ?.
The boys also talk to 92-year old vet John Bergmann. He, too, served in the army during World War Two. Stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland, Bergmann traveled the country doing top-secret work as a code breaker.
âWe were never allowed to tell anybody what we were doing. Nobody. And if we would have been caught we would either been shot or taken to Leavenworth for the rest of the war.â?
Kyle estimates that after talking with Bergmann and other vets at Wesley Glen he will have 145 interviews toward the 1-thousand he hopes to collect. To qualify for his Eagle Scout rank, Kyle must complete the project by the time he turns 18. But, he says, heâs already learned a lot.
âTheyâve given me a better understanding of what service to a greater cause means.â?
âSo when youâre old enough do you plan to sign up?
Kyle: âFor what?â
Kyle: I have not decided yet. Right now Iâm just trying to make Eagle.â?
Kyleâs dad William is confident that will happen.Â Kyle has already written a book about the veterans he met in the Litsinberger group.
âHeâll get his Eagle. Heâs earned that piece of it. Weâre pretty much done with that part of it. I donât think heâs going to let this go. Heâs havinâ too much fun.â?