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Girl Scouts Stumble Upon 50-Year-Old Memorial, Research Story

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A headstone and an American flag stand as a simple memorial on 32 acres of Camp Timberlake, a former Girl Scout camp — now for sale.

The marker reads: “In Memory of Cpl. David Hevle, U.S. Marine Corps 1944 to1967, Buried in Yankton, South Dakota.”

But it’s the back story that captures hearts and minds.

As the Vietnam War was heating up, a group of Junior Girl Scouts, comprised of third through fifth graders from West Bethlehem in Washington County, adopted the young marine.

“They sent him Christmas presents, hard candies and toiletries and tried to make cookies and sent him care packages overseas,” Abigail Tobia of Girl Scouts Western PA said.

On April 8, 1967, Cpl. Hevle, an amphibious assault vehicle crewman, was killed in an explosion fighting in South Vietnam. He was 22 years old.

That’s when the scouts planted a pine tree and placed the marker in their marine’s memory.

“By putting the memorial there for their Marine they were able to remember his work, his sacrifice, as well as their experience in the Girl Scouts and making the world a better place,” Tobia said.

Now the scouts are looking for angels to help move Cpl. Hevle’s memorial to his hometown in South Dakota.

Hevle is buried beside his parents in the “Garden of Memories” there.

The funeral director in Yankto says that his brother, Doug, has given permission to add the marker to the gravesite. All the Scouts have to do is find the money to make the move.

“It’s over a thousand miles,” he said. “It’s gonna take a little bit of work from the community to get it to its final resting space.”

They are also looking for those Junior Girls scouts who created the memorial 46 years ago to a marine they never met – but mourned all the same.

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