BILLINGS – Two years and hundreds of hours of work on display, as the replica World War 2 glider honoring Ben Steele, was hung at Ben Steele Middle School on Friday.
BILLINGS – Two years and hundreds of hours of work are on display as the replica World War II glider honoring Ben Steele was hung at Ben Steele Middle School on Friday.
The project was spearheaded by science teacher Patrick Kenney, who was looking for a way to give back.
In all, 27 students took part, working 1,200 hours to complete the project. The students took part in each step of the process, from planning to painting the small details on the glider.
“We started this in 2016 as a tribute to Ben Steele and all the Army Air Corps veterans who fought during World War II,” said Kenney. “Really, on behalf of the students and I, it’s been a real honor and privilege to do this on behalf of the Steele family and all those Army Air Corps vets.”
Steele was a World War II veteran who survived the Bataan death march and was a longtime fixture in Billings’ education community. He attended the ground-breaking for the school that now bears his name in the spring of 2016 and died about a month after it opened on Sept. 25 at age 98.
On Friday, the Steele family was there when the glider was installed.
Julie Jorgenson, Ben Steele’s daughter, said going to the school now is even more emotional than it was the first day the doors opened.
“Every time I come it gets better and better,” said Jorgenson. “When they first said that they were dedicating this to him, I had no idea what it really meant. And then we started going up to the airport and watching it being built and watching these kids put in hours and hours – 1200 hours – it’s pretty amazing.”
The glider now hangs above the school’s cafeteria. Students will be able to see it for the first time on their first day at school, Aug 24.