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One Book, One School, and One Local Hero

Mantua – Specialist Adam Scott Hamilton was one of the top marksmen in his unit and was assigned as a sniper. Since joining the U.S. Army in March, 2009 Specialist Hamilton has been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. But he was more than that to Crestwood student Nick Krestan — Adam was his big brother. Three years ago, when Nick was a student at Crestwood Intermediate, he and his classmates wrote letters to Adam, sharing what they were learning in the book, On the Wings Of Heroes  by Richard Peck. Nick’s class, and the entire school, read the book as a part of the school’s first One Book, One School program that year. Unfortunately, Adam, who was serving in the US Army in Afghanistan, died in battle on May 28th, before he had the chance to meet his brother’s classmates at CIS. Adam was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and NATO medal. He was 22 years old.

At the time of his death in 2001, a tree was planted in his honor on the grounds of the school. This past Friday, Adam was once again honored by Crestwood Intermediate School when his memorial was dedicated in the presence of his family. The dedication coincided with the closing event of this year’s One Book, One School program, which again featured Peck’s book, On the Wings of Heroes.

“It fills our hearts to know that these communities wrap their arms around and comfort us. It’s wonderful how much people care,” beamed Adam’s father, Scott Hamilton. “Memorial Day is so much more than hot dogs and a day off. It’s so important to help keep Adam’s memory alive, and all the other men and women who are lost.”  After the dedication, Crestwood students, the Hamilton family, and area veterans enjoyed a jalopy parade similar to the one described in Peck’s book.

As spectators waved American flags, the Crestwood marching band led the parade, which also featured Army vehicles and classic cars. Through their month-long literacy program, CIS students and staff raised money for the National Museum of the U.S. Army in Virginia. In addition to a financial donation, two bricks will be placed in the Museum’s walkway — one in honor of Mantua veterans, and one in honor of Specialist Adam Hamilton, with the designation ‘On Wings of Heroes’ to commemorate this year’s program. In addition, students and community members have the opportunity to register veterans into the National Museum of the U.S. Army soldier database. The Soldier’s Registry provides an opportunity to recognize and honor soldiers who are currently serving or have previously served in the U.S. Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. The Soldier’s Registry will be prominently displayed at The National Museum of the United States Army, and is available at no charge. For more information, visit armyhistory.org.

“It’s amazing how they were able to bring students in touch with what happens during war,” continued Hamilton, noting that the U.S. has been engaged in war in the Middle East for over ten years. “There are a lot of families impacted,” Hamilton noted, “but events like this can effect them in a positive way.” He expressed his hope that some day, some of today’s students might return here to share his son’s memorial, and today’s experience, with their own children.

Specialist Adam Hamilton is survived by his parents Scott and Connie Hamilton of Kent and Nancy Krestan, of Mantua; as well as his siblings Nick Krestan; and Brandon, Shawney and Taya Hamilton. In his honor, the family has created the Adam Hamilton Memorial Academic and Athletic Scholarship Fund. The Fund helps keep his memory alive through recognizing major accomplishments of Kent Roosevelt students, where Hamilton graduated in 2007. Each year, the Fund awards two $10,000 scholarships – for graduating male and female Kent Roosevelt High School students. For more information, call (330) 274-2961.

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