IN?MEMORY… Remembering area war veterans

Editor’s note: This is the first of two parts.

Graduate of West Point Military Academy

Field Artillery: 26 years, two months

Comptroller: Eight years, eight months

Military education: Field Artillery, officer basic course; Airborne School, advanced; Special Counter Intelligence; Artillery Advanced College; Command and General Staff College; National Security and Terrorism School

Assignments: Military Intelligence, Pentagon; Field Artillery Officer; Army Airborne War Counter Insurgent

Medals/Awards: Legion of Merit (20 lc), Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Occupational Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Service Expeditionary Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Unit Citation/Parachutist

Arthur Norris Crowell was born March 1, 1941. The son of Leigh and Clara (Nagel) came into the world at the Silver Creek hospital, and was wrapped up and taken to their rural home on Prospect Street in Forestville. Crowell grew up with his two brothers Ralph and Elmer. Ralph was the oldest, born in 1921, and kept an eye on his younger brothers.

Growing up on a farm was a great situation for these brothers. Everyone knows that farming is one of the hardest ways to make a living. But even though it’s a hard profession, it’s an honorable profession. With each dawning day, the boys went out into the fields to work. They took care of livestock and did the chores around the farm that were necessary to keep it running. In their spare time, they hunted, fished and enjoyed the outdoors. In the summers, they could be found splashing in a local pond, Ralph’s vigilance keeping them safe.

But of course, with winter came snow. When God wanted it to snow, he made sure Forestville got its fair share. In winter, the temperature dropped below zero. But this didn’t mean the Crowell boys were done having fun. They would hop on sleds or old washer covers, run to the hill in front of their farm’s road, and ride over three miles into Forestville’s downtown area. Once, a neighbor driving a car next to the hill clocked the boys doing 30 miles per hour!

The Crowell boys attended Hanover’s School 13, located only a mile from their home. From there, Crowell attended Forestville Central until graduating in 1958. He proudly took home letters for baseball and basketball.

Crowell’s brothers began to notice a change in him. Usually, he was up for whatever fun and horseplay they wanted to get into. But he started turning down invitations for outdoor games in favor of reading books. His brothers noticed that he read even when he didn’t have to. But Crowell was interested in learning and reading about things is a great way to do just that.

Part of the family’s income came from selling fruits and vegetables to the local canning factories. The boys brought in extra money by cutting and splitting firewood for the winter months for friends and neighbors. The family worked together to make ends meet. However, these odds and ends didn’t add up to enough to send the boys to college. For most kids from families like the Crowells, college was a fleeting daydream only indulged in during brief breaks from farm chores.

But Crowell’s reading paid off. Learning as much as he could on his own, Crowell found a way to make his daydreams come true. It was Sen. Dan Reed of Sheridan who nominated Crowell to receive a scholarship to the West Point Military Academy. This was truly a one in a million chance for a local farmer’s son, and Crowell recognized this opportunity for what it was. At West Point he studied hard, focused on his training and worked when he could. He graduated from West Point in 1962, making his family proud.

Next week: Part two.