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Published: Wednesday, 5/20/2009

Scout's work salutes fallen warriors

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

After Marty Linthicum learned a couple of years ago that a baseball teammate's uncle was killed in Iraq, the boy noticed Marine Corps Sgt. David R. Christoff's name never appeared on Rossford's war memorial.

And when he realized that other names were missing from the brick monument in Rossford's Veterans Memorial Park dedicated to fallen local soldiers, the

12-year-old Boy Scout decided to do something about it.

He embarked nearly a year ago on a research project that would take more than 80 hours to complete with the help of his parents, Art and Donna Linthicum, and others. He raised more than $800, mostly after giving a presentation to the Rossford Business Association, to buy two plaques listing all 31 of the fallen soldiers from Rossford and the former Ross Township for the monument, which had not been updated since the Korean War.

"I learned never to forget our fallen heroes," the boy said last week after the plaques were installed. "It's just amazing how many a little town like Rossford put in the war."

The new plaques list 31 dead from World War I through Iraq and Afghanistan.  It s just amazing how many a little town like Rossford put in the war,  Marty said. The new plaques list 31 dead from World War I through Iraq and Afghanistan. It s just amazing how many a little town like Rossford put in the war, Marty said.
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The Indian Hills Elementary sixth grader and his father cleaned, primed, and painted the metal arch joining the memorial's two brick pillars, earning him a Boy Scout merit badge for citizenship in the community. He is Boy Scout Troop No. 62's historian.

Updating the memorial's plaques to include five previously unlisted fallen soldiers, however, was not actually part of a Boy Scout project.

"They deserve it just as much as anyone else," he said.

The boy's research uncovered the omission of one fallen World War II soldier, Pvt. Eugene Turner, and the memorial also includes the two local men who were killed in Vietnam plus one each from Iraq and Afghanistan. The new plaques list the fallen local soldiers by the conflict in which they were killed.

NBRE scout20p  12 year-old Marty Linthicum, of Rossford, at the Rossford Veterans Memorial in Rossford, Ohio on May 14, 2009. When a teammate on the Rossford RiverDogs mentioned that his uncle, Marine Sgt. David R. Christoff, was killed in Iraq but not on the nearby city memorial, Linthicum says he "realized...I should make sure he's on there". After over 80 hours of research, plus fundraising inthe community, Linthicum was able to replace the inaccurate plaques, and add five names, updating the World War II roster with one name, and adding the dead from the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Linthicum also cleaned and painted the park sign, for which he received a "Citizenship in the Community" merit badge from BSA Troop 62. The Blade/Jetta Fraser NBRE scout20p 12 year-old Marty Linthicum, of Rossford, at the Rossford Veterans Memorial in Rossford, Ohio on May 14, 2009. When a teammate on the Rossford RiverDogs mentioned that his uncle, Marine Sgt. David R. Christoff, was killed in Iraq but not on the nearby city memorial, Linthicum says he "realized...I should make sure he's on there". After over 80 hours of research, plus fundraising inthe community, Linthicum was able to replace the inaccurate plaques, and add five names, updating the World War II roster with one name, and adding the dead from the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Linthicum also cleaned and painted the park sign, for which he received a "Citizenship in the Community" merit badge from BSA Troop 62. The Blade/Jetta Fraser
JETTA FRASER Enlarge

"He really took it to task, and he did a fantastic job," said Richard DeVaul, commander of American Legion Post 533 in Rossford. "It's just a really good thing that he's done."

On Sunday, Rossford's Memorial Day parade will march veterans and others near the memorial before gathering at the park's baseball field. The parade starts at 1:30 p.m.

Private Turner will be listed on Rossford's Memorial Day program for the first time thanks to Marty, who will be recognized for his efforts, Mr. DeVaul said.

"It's a nice project," said Rossford Administrator Edward Ciecka. "He did a lot of work."

Much of the boy's research was done at the Rossford Public Library, and he credits librarian Anne Bushel with guiding him to resources such as obituaries in The Rossford Record Journal.

The reference/local history librarian said she gave the Linthicums access to scrapbooks and other donated materials.

"I let him dig into it," Ms. Bushel said. "People gave us things through the years."

Rossford's most recent fallen military hero is Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel E.

Miller, who died in Afghanistan in August, 2007.

Sergeant Christoff, who prompted the boy's quest, was killed in May, 2006, during his second tour in Iraq.

The boy's interest in the project seemed natural, said his parents, who helped him do research.

"He has always been interested in the military," Mrs. Linthicum said of her youngest child.

"When he was little, he wanted to be a fighter pilot."

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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