A World War II veteran shared his military experiences with area Boy Scouts during Thursday's Kiokee District Banquet.
Held at Episcopal Church of Our Savior in Martinez, the banquet honored the 2007 Eagle Scouts and scout leadership. Don Harris, a former B-17 bomber pilot with the 8th Air Force and 390th Bomb Group, was the featured speaker.
Harris, of Martinez, entered flight training after his 19th birthday, he said.
By the age of 21, he went to combat and flew more than 17 missions during the war. He spent nine months as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down above Germany.
Harris said he understands that the Boy Scouts of America program toughens young men and builds character, which mirrors the military.
"I'm happy to be in a room that's full of pride," the 84-year-old said.
He captivated the audience with his stories of overseas encounters during the war and kept the crowd laughing.
"We're looking for good, straight, honest, moral citizens and we need you," Harris said to the crowd.
Harris moved from Virginia to the Martinez area more than a year ago to live with his youngest daughter.
Nine of 30 Eagle Scouts were at the banquet. Matt Brejda, Gregory Francisco II and Scott Jacobson, of Troop 2; Thomas Bennett, Connor Watkins and Chris Kessler, of Troop 643; Ryan Lemmen, of Troop 16; Kirk Lemmen, of Troop 615; and Will Kenney, of Troop 119 received recognition.
Jonathan Francisco, of Troop 2, was recognized as a Religious Award Recipient.
Doug Massey received an award as District Scouter of the Year. Ed Manders and Dawn Langley-Brady received the District Award of Merit.
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