Tuesday, July 6, 2010

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

By the time you read this, a meeting with the Commissioners will have taken place on Tuesday, the 6th. I will report next week the results of the meeting and where the Committee goes from there. What is known at this time is that there are grants that are available for recycling. A particular building is being checked out and it would be the ideal place for recycling.

There was a small item in the U.S.A. Weekend magazine that comes with the Sunday newspaper about “Reduce your wrapping trash.” It said that almost 75% of an average household’s garbage is packaging. In a book titled “A Slice of Organic Life,” by Sheherazade Goldsmith, tells us how to scale back: Choose products with minimum packaging or recyclable packaging, buy fruits and vegetables loose, buy in bulk, skip the prepackaged “snack” foods, and pack your own lunchbox portions.

I would like to add to those instructions by asking when storing leftover foods use washable containers instead of plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or waxed paper. Do wrap your sandwiches, cookies, and snacks in waxed paper instead of sandwich plastic bags. Do buy some sort of water containers to carry your water and discontinue buying and using plastic bottles. Every little bit helps. Help a lot this week.

The response to the request about knowing where the schoolhouses are located, and attendance at those schools, was very exciting. I had ten phone calls on my answering machine by Friday evening. I have a list of sixteen schools, many students, and several teachers to give the Charlotte Caldwell when she arrives in Fort Benton tomorrow night (7-5-10.)

I had been expecting her in another week but she e-mailed that she would be here sooner. I am sure that she will be making many more trips to this area and so if you still want to call about a one-room schoolhouse, do so. Call 622-3217 after 2:00 p.m.

It was all about United States birthday, our Servicemen and Servicewomen, the wars we have fought to keep the peace, and the protection we have come to know and expect. We owe so much to our Armed Forces and it made my heart about to burst when I saw the gathering of Americans at the July 4th Parade in Great Falls. The Parade time was set for 3:00 p.m. instead of the usual 11:00 a.m. because it was Sunday and the organizers respected church hours.

The crowds were in greater numbers this year and when Wally (as one of the Grand Marshals) would say thank you for coming out…they would shout back…thank you for serving. We say thank you to every Serviceman and Servicewoman we see and they so appreciate it. Please be sure to say thank you when you see them. It is just a small kindness but it really means a lot to be appreciated. They are putting up their lives to protect us. Patriotism has fallen away since 9/11. Please bring it back. Sing the National Anthem, fly an American flag outside your home, write to a Serviceperson, send them a package, and most of all, pray for them every day. They deserve it.

I would like to tell you about Donald J. Ruhl, the only Marine to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in WWII from Montana for his unhesitating courage on Iwo Jima. Donald was born in Columbus, Montana in 1923, graduated from Joliet High School in 1942, and was killed on Iwo Jima on January 21st, 1945. He was 21 years old After he was killed, his parents moved to Greybull, WY and when the Marine’s bodies were repatriated from Iwo Jima, he was returned to the then Hillside Cemetery in Greybull.

The rest of the story, that involves Wally and me, began sometime in February. Wally was invited to be the keynote speaker at the dedication of the Donald J. Ruhl Memorial Monument and the renaming of the Donald J. Ruhl Memorial Cemetery of Greybull, Wyoming on July 2, 2010. Thus began a correspondence with Paul Linse of Greybull who is a retired architect who coordinated the whole dedication process. He was asked to design the monument and you know how that story ended. As usual with volunteers, he took on the whole project and spent countless hours, (and his wife Sheryl,) with not only locating long lost relatives back East but also physically working on stonework around the monument.

I began researching Donald J. Ruhl on the internet and planning our course of action with our son, Randy Morger. He was to be our designated driver for the 368-mile trip. During this planning time, someone said that we should take 6 miles off our course and stop in Joliet, MT were Donald went to Joliet High School. We were to check to see if the original high school still existed.

We left on July 1st at 7:00 a.m. and did indeed stop in Joliet. When we found the school, we met Melvin Stene and found that he was responsible for keeping the Donald J. Ruhl story alive. During our conversation, he told us that Donald’s best friend in high school was still living and when Stanley Arthun was called, he came to the school to talk with us. He told us of a very quiet, serious young man who was a hard working farm hand. Donald wanted Stanley to join the Marines with him but Stanley had to remain on the sheep farm to help his father as his two brothers were in the army. Stanley had not planned on attending the Dedication (he is also 87 years old) but after visiting with us, he decided to be there.

We were then off to Greybull and found that it is a beautiful little town and the surrounding area is much like Fort Benton. Greybull is down in a valley, has about 300 more people, is a tourist town, produces Bentonite, and has very friendly people. Paul meet us at the motel and we immediately went to the Cemetery. The monument is made of black granite and stands facing the town. It is an awesome sight. You can check it out by going to KULR Channel 8 in Billings on the internet. You can pick up the evening news on July 2nd and 3rd. You can read more about Donald J. Ruhl by Google-ing (my own spelling) his name.

The ceremony was about an hour and 15 minutes long but those attending did not want it to end. A wreath was placed on Donald’s grave, a gold star was placed on his mother’s grave, there was a Marine color guard from Billings, Young Marines escorting dignitaries, an uncounted number of flag bearers at attention lining the entrance to the cemetery (they later moved to behind the monument in a semi circle,) and the stands were filled with people. It was a very moving ceremony that made one so proud to be an American and the thought that you wished you had known that young man.

We were invited to the Elks Club for a luncheon afterward and after talking to many new acquaintances (they all said they are coming to Fort Benton to visit us,) we took leave and arrived home at 6:30 p.m. We wish that all of you could have been there but hopefully this story gave you some insight into Donald J. Ruhl.

Show me a person who may be asked to give more than just dedication and I’ll show you a volunteer.

It’s coming up quickly. Set aside Saturday afternoon the 17th. Have you offered any help yet or taken anything to the Committee for the silent auction? The most important thing is to get all the Veterans there so we can show them how much we appreciate them. Semper Fi to all the Services.

It’s been a very busy week for everyone and perhaps things will quiet down now. It would be nice to sit outside in the evenings and enjoy our yards. It would be nice to walk along the Missouri or take a ride into the Shonkins. We could do all that if it weren’t for those pesky mosquitoes. Oh well, what else do we have to complain about.