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Ben Steele reflects on war, art, forgiveness - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Ben Steele reflects on war, art, forgiveness

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Ben  Steele reflects on his time as a prisoner of war and the drawings that kept him alive. (MTN News photo) Ben Steele reflects on his time as a prisoner of war and the drawings that kept him alive. (MTN News photo)
BILLINGS -

Even in a state where nearly one in 10 residents are veterans of the United States armed forces, Ben Steele stands out. 

A survivor of unparalleled cruelty and savagery, his story is chronicled in the book, “Tears in the Darkness – The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath.”

But this real life cowboy turned soldier found comfort through his art.

Steele’s gift evolved into a career in teaching at Eastern Montana College (MSU-Billings) when he returned from war. And time and friendships taught him how to forgive.

Local residents who are inspired by his story petitioned the school board to name the new Billings Westend middle school after him.

School District 2 Superintendent Terry Bouck said groundbreaking is scheduled for the Ben Steele Middle School on March 18, 2016, and dedication is planned for August 2017.

As Ben Steele celebrates his 98th birthday next Tuesday, and we observe Veterans Day, Ben shares part of his moving story with us.  

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