Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa Eagle Scout contributes his efforts to the Veterans History Project

McLean Haughey's grandfather, William Martin Jr., served during World War II as an Army colonel. So when McLean contemplated ideas for his Eagle Scout project, the 17-year-old knew exactly what he wanted to do. ¶ He wanted to record his grandfather's story, and the stories of other veterans, for posterity through the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project. ¶ "I thought, what better way to honor my grandfather and all the men and women who served?" McLean said. "I contacted people I knew who had participated in the Veterans History Project, and they gave me the number for the Library of Congress, which connected me with veterans in Florida."

McLean, who joined Cub Scouts in first grade and Boy Scouts in fifth, is a member of Troop 53 in Tampa. The Plant High School junior spent hours interviewing World War II and Vietnam veterans.

The Veterans History Project collects and makes accessible the personal stories of American war veterans, from World War I through the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Also included are the stories of civilians directly involved in supporting those war efforts. The goal is to give future generations the opportunity to understand the realities of war by accessing audio and video recordings of those involved. The project, created by Congress in 2000, also accepts memoirs, diaries, maps and original photographs and letters.

Troop 53 Scoutmaster Larry Wilder has known McLean since 2004 and considers him an exemplary Scout, defining what is right with Scouting and the country.

"He has always been a leader among the boys and has seldom taken the orthodox path," Wilder said. "His decision to record the veterans' stories was not a typical Eagle project, but McLean is not a typical Eagle Scout. He has the foresight and understanding that compelled him to choose his project. It is a project that will prove to be a positive reflection of these veterans' stories that may not have been told if not for his efforts."

McLean spent almost six months working on the project, interviewing 11 men and women. Although he initially made a few mistakes, he learned quickly.

The Veterans History Project has specific requirements for veteran interviews.

"If they're not met, (the interviews) will get mailed back to you," McLean said. "I was unaware that you cannot submit interviews of active-duty veterans, who have been deployed and come back home, but are still active in the military. I interviewed two active-duty guys."

But it wasn't a waste of time. Not only did he learn from those men, but once they do retire, their stories can become a part of the Veterans History Project.

That's all McLean wanted — to tell their stories. He wasn't looking to draw attention to himself, but to his surprise, he got noticed. While attending an Honor Flight presentation in Clearwater, Col. Robert Patrick, director of the Veterans History Project, presented McLean with a certificate of appreciation.

McLean feels honored, but his focus remains on the veterans he interviewed, like retired Marine Cpl. Ron Ponton, who served in Vietnam. McLean learned what soldiers went through and how they managed, survived and lived to tell about it.

"That's the point of the Veterans History Project, to make sure future generations, researchers and anyone doing reports in school have access to firsthand accounts of what these men and women went through," McLean said.

He also interviewed retired Major Linda J. Pugsley, who served 10 years in the Air Force as a flight nurse. She is now a chaplain and lieutenant colonel in the Civil Air Patrol.

Gary Reddick, assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 53, was Scoutmaster for the 2011-2012 term and first met McLean in the summer of 2010, when Reddick's son went from Cub Scouts to Boy Scout Troop 53 at Palma Ceia United Methodist Church in Tampa. He was impressed that despite a four-year age difference, McLean provided kind acceptance and guidance to his son and other new Scouts.

"Even with many competing interests, McLean has proven to be a loyal Scout," Reddick said. "He cheerfully provides leadership, leading both by example and giving directions and help to others in the troop . . . I recognize that the stories recounted by our veterans are valuable pieces of history, and I am very pleased that McLean's efforts will ensure that these pieces of history can now be shared with many others through the VHP."

Congresswoman Kathy Castor met McLean to accept his taped interviews and present them on his behalf to the Library of Congress in Washington.

McLean doesn't think he's done anything special. He just wanted to honor those who served. It's his way of paying homage to people like his grandfather.

"These guys are not going to be around forever, especially our World War II guys — unfortunately, even some of our Vietnam guys," McLean said. "Anyone can do these interviews. You don't have to be associated with any organization.

"You don't want to wait around to do it though; you want to get right on it," he said. "The most important thing is to offer these men and women the opportunity to have their personal stories recorded for future generations."

Comments
New Yorker magazine apologizes to combat-wounded Pasco veteran over staffer’s Tweet

New Yorker magazine apologizes to combat-wounded Pasco veteran over staffer’s Tweet

The New Yorker magazine has apologized to a combat-wounded Pasco County veteran about a tweet posted by one of its staffers.Over the weekend, New Yorker staffer Talia Lavin wrote in a tweet that a tattoo on the left elbow of Justin Gaertner looked li...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Top 5 at noon: Spectrum’s new service to increase TV costs; guide to St. Pete Pride 2018; and more

Top 5 at noon: Spectrum’s new service to increase TV costs; guide to St. Pete Pride 2018; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.SPECTRUM’S NEW SERVICE WILL EVENTUALLY INCREASE THE COST FOR TVSpectrum’s new all-digital service is set to bring more high definition, faster internet speeds and expanded on-demand offerings ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lakeland father, girlfriend face charges in death of 6-year-old girl

Lakeland father, girlfriend face charges in death of 6-year-old girl

A Lakeland man and his girlfriend face charges of first-degree murder and aggravated manslaughter in the death of his 6-year-old daughter last week.Larry Lewis Golden Jr., 26, Breonna B. Wren, 21, were arrested Friday and are being held without bail ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Thanks, Vegas. That’s what NHL general managers are saying this offseason after the Stanley Cup Final run of the expansion Golden Knights contributed to what’s expected to be a healthy increase for the salary cap. With elite center John Tavares, No. ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Drugs at your doorstep: CVS will deliver prescriptions to your home

Drugs at your doorstep: CVS will deliver prescriptions to your home

CVS Health will make prescription deliveries nationwide to accommodate the heightened expectations of convenience from consumers. The nation’s second-largest drugstore chain says it also will make home deliveries of other items, like allergy medicine...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Among the marching bands and twirlers at Saturday’s St. Pete Pride Parade, one major sponsor, Tech Data, is sending by far a record number of employees — more than 700 at last count — to march in Florida’s largest gay pride parade.The parade, which d...
Updated: 2 hours ago
They usually avoid controversy, but every living first lady has condemned border separations

They usually avoid controversy, but every living first lady has condemned border separations

Every living first lady - including Melania Trump - has condemned the policy of separating immigrant families caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. It is a rare moment of bipartisan unity from the women who make up the small sorority of p...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay boys soccer players of the year

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay boys soccer players of the year

Hillsborough player of the year: F Eric Ugarte, Sr., Plant CityThe numbers: Ugarte scored 21 goals and added 11 assists to lead the Raiders to their first state title in soccer. He scored 71 goals in his career.Something about Eric: The skilled ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

The Rays blow a four-run lead in Houston and lose on a walkoff hit to the Astros in the opener of their three-game series. It's the 19th one-run loss for the Rays this season as they continue to struggle in close games. Fortunately, reinforcements ar...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay girls soccer players of the year

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay girls soccer players of the year

Pinellas Player of the Year: MF Mary Raymond, Jr., Palm Harbor UniversityThe numbers: Raymond scored 13 goals and added seven assists. She spent the first part of the season as the central defender.Something about Mary: Raymond is the type of pl...
Updated: 3 hours ago