Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania plan a ceremony for 1 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Camp Timberlake near Marianna to honor a Vietnam War Marine as his memorial stone is transported to his grave in North Dakota.
The marker bears the name of Marine Cpl. David Eugene Hevle, who probably never set foot in Washington County, but whose story has piqued the interest of Observer-Reporter readers.
Kris Svidro, a Girl Scout volunteer from Washington, wondered about the story behind the marker a few months before Camp Timberlake was going to close down in October because the Girl Scouts are selling the 32-acre property.
Stories in the newspaper helped solve the mystery. Robert G. Rasel Sr. of Farmington, N.M., which is in the “Four Corners” area, knew Marine Cpl. David Eugene Hevle of Yankton, S.D., whose name was chiseled on a chunk of granite behind the camp lodge.
Rasel served with Hevle in Chu Lai. Rasel gave names and addresses of fellow service members to Lone Pine-area Girl Scouts who were interested in sending letters and packages to soldiers.
Hevle extended his tour of duty by another six months, sweetened by the promise of a bonus. Rasel recalls his friend planned to use the money to buy a new GTO.
It was during this extended tour of duty that Hevle’s amphibian tractor hit a mine and exploded April 8, 1967.
The same girls and their leaders who had mailed the letters and care packages likely placed a memorial to Hevle at the camp.
Hevle’s family members have agreed to place the stone by his grave in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton, S.D.
The public ceremony at Camp Timberlake will take place at 2334 Beallsville Road, West Bethlehem Township.
Lisa Shade, spokewoman for Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania, said the firm
Total Safety, which deals with the oil and gas industry, will sponsor transport of Hevle’s marker to Yankton.
Total Safety, based in Houston, Texas, also has a location in Houston, Washington County.
Derek Kaiser, Total Safety district manager in Houston, Pa., said an employee who saw media coverage of the Hevle marker story got the ball rolling. There was some discussion that a Total Safety employee driving toward the company’s offices in North Dakota could take the stone, but making sure it was fully insured was an important consideration.
Kaiser said Total Safety will be using a third-party freight company at a cost yet to be determined. He and members of his team plan to attend the ceremony and then some.
“We have some of the equipment to unearth the stone to makes that possible,” Kaiser said.