Teen Honors Fallen Service Members
by Vanessa Peng, KVRR Reporter
June 15, 2012
At 17–years–old, Matt Valenti has never served in Afghanistan, but he has spent more than 550 hours honoring those who did and never came home.
"They gave their life for our freedom so we can do the things we do in America, " said Valenti.
The Davies High School sophomore chose to spend his Spring Break and weekends in Grand Forks, typing into a dog stamping machine the names of all the U.S. military personnel who have died in the Afghanistan War.
Then, he painstakingly put those dog tags onto a Memorial Wall displayed at the Fargo Air Museum.
"We just kept typing and someone would be putting the chains on, and long day, " Valenti said.
The wall is a service project, that once approved, will earn him Eagle Scout status.
"You can look for a name and find out their rank and where they are from."
Names are alphabetically organized in a binder.
To find a specific name people just have to follow a grid.
"The grid is broken up into one square feet. Each column has a number."
And on the left, each row has a letter.
"It shows you who gave up their life for our country, how many did and it shows that a lot of people died."
"For Matt to come in a update us and get us to the current status was absolutely powerful for us, " said Fran Brummund, Fargo Air Museum Executive Director.
The wall pays tribute to about 19–hundred servicemen and women who died in combat in Afghanistan.
"I kept going because I just felt like it was needed to give respect and to honor them for what they did."
Valenti also finished installing 280 dog tags for service members who died in the *Iraq* War, which are on the same wall.
Other scouts started that project.