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Scout’s project will benefit local veterans

Luke Potts stands with the military displays he made for the Perham VFW and Auxiliary. Marie Nitke/FOCUS

The Perham teen who’s been making military displays for his Eagle Scout Service Project has completed them, and on Monday he presented his finished project to the local VFW and Auxiliary.

Seventeen-year-old Luke Potts designed and built the displays with help from his Boy Scout troop, Perham Troop 321.

The eye-catching displays, which stand more than six feet tall, will be used by the Perham VFW Post 4020 and its Ladies Auxiliary at public events and fundraisers. They will also be set up at the In Their Own Words Veterans Museum (ITOW) during special events and holidays like Memorial Day.

Each display represents a different branch of the military, and its design is inspired by that branch. There’s one in the shape of an airplane wing for the Air Force, for example, and another that looks like the tower of a submarine for the Navy; there’s another unique design for the Marines, and another for the Army.

The displays feature informational brochures about the different military branches, as well as photographs, patches, pins and other memorabilia submitted by local veterans, active duty military, and their families.

The standalone “kiosks,” as Potts sometimes calls them, are designed to be easily set up and taken down.

This Saturday, for example, the Auxiliary will bring the displays to a few different locations around Perham, to help draw attention to “Buddy Poppy Day.”

In past years, Auxiliary members have simply been stationed at local businesses to talk to passersby about the poppy campaign. This year, the displays will grab people’s attention before any mention of the cause is even made.

“They’re very attractive, and they’re going to be a good point of providing information,” said Auxiliary President Millie Lauer of the kiosks. “We really appreciate the work Luke and the scouts have done to put them together.”

Potts said he decided to make the displays for his service project because he knew the need was there and they would be put to good use. He also wanted to give back to the local VFW and Auxiliary groups, which he said have always been supportive of his Boy Scout troop.

He also has a personal connection to the military, with five generations of veterans on his mother’s side of the family, and his father a former Green Beret. Potts himself plans to enlist after high school.

All the materials used in the kiosks’ construction were donated by local businesses and individuals.

Anyone who has a photo or memorabilia to add to one of the kiosks may call Potts at 218-457-0858 or 346-6821.

Look for the displays around Perham on “Buddy Poppy Day.” Members of the Auxiliary and Troop 321 will be stationed at Shopko Hometown, Service Foods, Dean’s Country Market and downtown.

And while plans haven’t been finalized yet, the displays may also be set up at ITOW during Memorial Day, and could be used at the Auxiliary’s booth at this summer’s East Otter Tail County Fair.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Detroit Lakes Tribune as a reporter and magazine editor in November 2017 after several years of writing and editing at the Perham Focus. She lives in Detroit Lakes with her husband, Dan, their 3-year-old son and baby daughter, and their yellow Lab.

(218) 844-1452