NEW HAVEN — Though there can always seem to be bad news found in the county, the good news and achievements of others are also there to be discovered.
For example, recently, a large gathering of family, friends, classmates and well wishers met at the New Haven Library with a party to honor Pvt. Kaleb S. Petry.
A recent graduate of Wahama High School, Petry took a preliminary oath on March 22 to join the United States Army for a three year and 10-week stint. Petry stated the decision to make such a commitment was made easier having grown up in what he considers a “military family.” He often heard his now deceased great grandparents, Frank and Ilene Hudnall, of Point Pleasant, speak proudly of having met and married during World War II, while both were members of the United States Army Air Corp.
Also, his grandfather, Darrell Petry, of New Haven spent three years in Germany during the Vietnam War, and he knew of other family members, too numerous to name, who bravely and unselfishly made the choice to defend and if necessary fight for their country. With a sense of pride in these family members, Petry felt he could do no less, according to grandmother Marie.
On Sept. 17 Petry is scheduled to report to Beckley, W.Va. The troops will travel to Ft. Benning, Ga., where Petry will undergo an 18 week intensive training program, including Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT).
The difficulty of the AIT is determined by the soldier’s individual test scores, mental and physical readiness and physical capabilities. Successful completion of AIT will give Petry the credentials necessary to pursue his Method of Service (MOS). Petry stated he was notified by his recruiter in April that he had scored higher than usual in his tests and had met other requirements which qualified him for training in his MOS as a Cavalry Scout.
Petry says he feels the knowledge and training he will gain as a Cavalry Scout will give him a step up in his plans to obtain a degree in Engineering. Having taken several general college courses through MOVC while attending Wahama, it is Petry’s intention to continue his college education while serving his country. In addition to the degree in Engineering, Petry plans a double major with a degree in English.
While pursuit of a Master’s Degree in English may seem an odd choice to some, Petry is presently writing a book. According to family members, he was always fascinated by books and gifted with a love for reading. He said his main goal in life is to write and have published a best selling novel. This thought is not so far fetched for a young man who in 2009 submitted an article to Bow Hunter Magazine and won first place in the international youth essay contest. Petry is also an avid hunter and spends most of his spare time outdoors, whether it be hunting or just taking a walk in the woods.
Petry’s goal of continuing his higher education became a reality when his Army recruiter attended the recent awards ceremony at Wahama High School and presented him with certification which guaranteed him $66,528 in scholarship funds which were made available by the GI bill and the Army College Fund.
Petry stated he realizes many “future” soldiers might be fearful of making a commitment to any branch of the military which in these times could ultimately place them in a war zone. However, he strongly believes his Christian faith and Biblical teaching instilled in him since birth by his parents and other family members, as well as his personal relationship with God, will see him through.
As for now, Petry says he is “Army Strong” and intends to “Be All that He Can Be.”
Pvt. Petry is the son of Shawn and Susan Petry of Letart, the grandson of Marie (Petry) Stewart and Robert Stewart of Mason, Darrell Petry of New Haven, Walter Hayes of Middleport, and the late Carolyn Sue Hayes. Petry is the oldest of two siblings, Jacob who attends Wahama High School and sister, Mattie who attends Cornerstone Academy.
Petry requests all of his friends and fellow Mason Countians remember him and his fellow soldiers in prayer and support our troops.
(Note: Information for this story submitted by the Petry family. If you have a story you’d like to submit about someone’s achievements and/or “good news” in the community, email your information to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration).