NEW HOLLAND, Pa. — An intermediate school history project has brought an Eastern Lancaster Countystudent face to face with “the Forgotten War.”
Danny Gingerich, 13, an eighth-grader in Ned Beck’s history class at Pequea Valley Intermediate School needed to interview a veteran and report on it for a project. He found a fascinating storyteller in Sam Stoltzfus, a Korean War veteran from Morgantown who now lives at Garden Spot Village.
“I had gotten to know Sam Stoltzfus from talking to him here,” said Danny’s mother, Veronica Gingerich, life enrichment assistant at Garden Spot Village in NewHolland. When the project came up, “I looked in the Veterans Book in the Archives Room here at Garden Spot Village and saw that Sam was in there with some information about his service.”
Stoltzfus agreed to meet with Danny and his parents last month for an interview. His stories captivated the whole family. Danny documented Corp. Samuel Stoltzfus’s life from the receipt of his draft notice at age 21 to experiences in Korea, and his eventual return to Pennsylvania.
Stoltzfus left for Army basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, a week after he got married. He went to weapons school at Fort Benning, Georgia, and to radar school before being deployed to Korea, where he served as driver for the battalion commander, Col. Elwood Rouse. An Alabama native, Rouse appreciated his driver’s skills, especially in the snow.
Danny asked Stoltzfus about various facets of military life and what it was like when the soldier returned stateside.
“I wanted to know about things like his training, his service and his homecoming,” Danny said. “I found the war stories the most interesting, like when the North Koreans were firing mortar shells at him in his Jeep, and they landed in the rice paddies. He drove away so fast that the shocks had to be repaired.”
“I was pleasantly surprised that young people were interested in the veterans of the wars,” said Stoltzfus. He was especially surprised to find a young person interested in the Korean War, often called the Forgotten War.
Although others may have forgotten the Korean War, Danny wrote, “Sam and his fellow soldiers still remember their time there. He has a Korean War license plate, and sometimes people thank him for his service.”
That’s a good thing.
“Veterans are very important to America’s way of life, especially those in Mr. Stoltzfus’s generation. They gave up a lot for our country, so they should be treated with honor and respect.”
Danny Gingerich earned an A on the paper. On Nov. 8, Stoltzfus will visit Pequea Valley Intermediate School as part of a Veterans’ Day program.
“We hope the relationship with Pequea Valley continues,” said Veronica Gingerich. “So many veterans here would be willing to share their story.”