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Scouts pay tribute to all servicemen

SUQUAMISH — Instead of sleeping late and playing video games like many of their peers on Veterans Day, members of Troop 1571 helped remember the true spirit of the day.

A dozen Scouts met at the Kingston Junior High parking lot before 8 a.m. Friday to place flags on the graves of veterans at the Kingston and Suquamish cemeteries along with members from VFW Post 2463 to honor not only the service of fallen veterans but the contributions of all servicemembers.

Seeing the group of Scouts willing to remember the true meaning of the day was heartwarming, said VFW Post 2463 member John Portanova.

“It’s great to see them come to realize it’s more than a long weekend,” Portanova said. “It’s more about the people.”

Even though the VFW has been placing flags on veterans’ graves for years, the idea of getting Scouts involved came about six years ago, he said.

“The Scoutmaster at the time came and offered Scouts to assist us and they’ve been doing it ever since,” Portanova said.

Nathaniel Hattrick, who led his fellow Scouts in the project, said it is important to remember Veterans Day, especially during a time when U.S. servicemen and women are fighting overseas.

“It’s just in the fact that it’s Veterans Day and we need to honor them,” Hattrick said as his crew finished placing the last flag at the Suquamish cemetery.

Hattrick said he has family members who have served in the military as his grandfather served in the Korean War and an aunt served as well.

Even though he is only 16, Hattrick said he has not totally ruled out the military as a possible career choice.

“It might be a possibility, but I’m not sure right now,” Hattrick said.

Another brave Scout who faced the cold, wet, windy day in order to honor those who have served was 12-year-old Stephen Booher.

“This is my first time doing this and it’s to honor the veterans,” Booher said at the end of the event. “It’s been pretty fun, so far.”

Once the last flag in place, adult volunteer John Zantek thanked the group for taking the time to honor the veterans.

Helping with events like this is an important part of serving the community, Zantek told the group.

“Look around and you’ll see things that need to be done to help the community,” he said.

After taking the time to honor the veterans, many of the Scouts rushed to begin preparing for the troop’s food drive, which was held at Central Market Saturday and Sunday.

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