Buckeye Boys State starts Saturday in BG


The past will meet the present when American Legion Buckeye Boys State opens Saturday at Bowling Green
State University.
William O’Neil, 90, a delegate to the very first Buckeye Boys State held in 1936, will address the
delegates on Sunday during the evening assembly.
BBS Public Relations Director Bill Strong said O’Neil attended the program when it was first held on the
Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus. The teens stayed in the cattle barns.
"He contacted us," Strong said of O’Neil, who is from Pittsburgh. "We’re excited about
Also speaking Sunday evening will be Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Ronald Rosser of Zanesville, an
Army veteran of the Korean War.
Born in Columbus, Rosser was a member of Heavy Mortar Company, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division. He
earned the Medal of Honor while assaulting heavily fortified enemy hill positions in the vicinity of
Ponggilli, Korea, with only his carbine and grenades and under enemy fire.
Following his first charge up the hill and killing at least nine enemy soldiers in bunkers and a trench,
he returned to his original position through enemy fire to get more ammo and grenades. According to his
biography, Rosser called on others to follow him and assaulted two more enemy bunkers. He returned again
to get more ammo and grenades, then made a third charge up the hill to hurl the grenades into enemy
"During this heroic action, Corporal Rosser single-handedly killed at least 13 of the enemy. After
exhausting his ammunition he accompanied the withdrawing platoon, and though himself wounded, made
several trips across open terrain still under enemy fire to help remove other men injured more seriously
than himself."
Local residents interested in hearing both O’Neil and Rosser are welcome to attend Sunday’s program. All
of the evening programs are free and open to the public. They begin at 8 p.m. in Anderson Arena.
The tentative evening schedule includes:
° Saturday, opening night, keynote speaker Ohio Rep. Randy Gardner, former BBS delegate and Hall of Fame
recipient. Also scheduled are BGSU Vice President/Student Affairs Ed Whipple, BBS President James
Garrity, Mayor John Quinn and American Legion State Commander Robert Kimball.
° Sunday, Rosser and O’Neil.
° June 15, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland visits BBS in the afternoon to observe the general election candidate
debates and address the teens. There is no evening program.
° June 16, inauguration of the newly-elected BBS governor. The keynote speaker is Ohio Chief Justice
Thomas Moyer.
° June 17, the Ohio State Highway Patrol will present a Memorial Day service, and Wood County
commissioners Alvin Perkins, Tim Brown and James Carter will be guests.
° June 18, Ohio Air National Guard Band "Mohave" will perform for a special program.
° June 19, keynote speaker Joseph Riley, the 2008 president of American Legion Boys Nation. There will
also be an official U.S. flag retirement ceremony.
° June 20, the Outstanding Citizens Awards ceremony, with special guest National American Legion Vice
Commander James Davis.
° June 21, graduation speaker USAF Lt. Col. Tor Dietrichs, 1983 Boys State delegate, with an ecumenical
church service and memorial service for BBS delegates killed in action.
Serving as president of BBS this year is Navy veteran James Garrity of Piqua. This year marks the 20th
anniversary of his volunteer work with the program. His son, Sgt. Christopher Garrity, U.S. Marine
Corps, will fly in from San Diego during the last four days of his presidency.
Strong, a Navy veteran in his 15th year with Boys State, said the Pemberville Freedom Post always puts on
a steak dinner for the BBS staff the night before the program opens – which has been nicknamed "The
Last Supper."
File Photo: Boy State delegates haul in suitcases. (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)

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