Sixteen high school juniors were chosen to represent Fayette County at this year’s American Legion Buckeye Boys’ State held on the campus at Bowling Green State University.
A majority of the boys and their families were present at a morning gathering at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #3762. This annual event is sponsored in part by all the veteran posts in Fayette County.
Chairman, Charles “Buck” Harris, opened the morning gathering by thanking “the parents for getting these boys this far in life. Also know that your teachers think a lot of you. On behalf of the veterans’ groups, we thank you young men for representing Fayette County.”
The American Legion Boys’ State is a national educational opportunity. However, consistently Ohio has more participants in this learning experience that any other state. The program is an opportunity for young people to learn about city, county and state government through a non-partisan, objective, educational opportunity. There is also a Buckeye Girls’ State.
The participants spoke glowingly of their experiences during their week of learning and fun. Blake spoke of “the honor he felt when he was introduced to the many men and women veterans in attendance.” Liam spoke about how “hard they all worked that one week, but it ended up not being about the work, but about the life-long friendships that were forged.” Alex shared that “the experience was nothing like I pictured it would be. It was the best time of my life.” Jared thought it was “great to meet all the people from around the state.” Kyler was excited to share that he “was asked to return next year as a counselor.”
A few of the parents shared their thoughts about the experience: Jared’s mother, Sharon Evans, shared her appreciation for “how respect and honor for America was taught without all the politics.” Liam’s father, Tim Downing, wanted to thank the Fayette County veterans for “this opportunity for his son.” Colton Karnes, unable to attend, sent a letter with his father, Brian, so he could share his feelings about his experience.
Veteran Paul Sands expressed his feelings about this year’s participants: “They are a good bunch and they conducted themselves like professional business men.” Buck Harris had the final words by saying, “We sent more men this year than in the past and we hope to send more men next year.”