• Eighth grader Nicholas Dimiceli and first grader Jacob Beringer were buddies at St. Agnes School in Butler, Wis., about a decade ago.

    Grade-school buddies

    Eighth grader Nicholas Dimiceli and first grader Jacob Beringer were buddies at St. Agnes School in Butler, Wis., about a decade ago.

  • Staff Sgt. Nicholas Dimiceli, Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion, reunites with Jacob Beringer, a school buddy from a decade ago at St. Agnes School in Butler, Wis. Dimiceli was an eighth grader who read books and did various activities with Beringer who was then a first grader. Beringer is now joining the Army following his reunion with Dimiceli.

    SSG Dimiceli & Beringer

    Staff Sgt. Nicholas Dimiceli, Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion, reunites with Jacob Beringer, a school buddy from a decade ago at St. Agnes School in Butler, Wis. Dimiceli was an eighth grader who read books and did various activities with Beringer who...

  • Staff Sgt. Nicholas Dimiceli, Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion, reunites with Jacob Beringer, a school buddy from a decade ago at St. Agnes School in Butler, Wis. Dimiceli was an eighth grader who read books and did various activities with Beringer who was then a first grader. They sit in a classroom where they both went through eighth grade. Beringer is now joining the Army following his reunion with Dimiceli.

    Retracing steps

    Staff Sgt. Nicholas Dimiceli, Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion, reunites with Jacob Beringer, a school buddy from a decade ago at St. Agnes School in Butler, Wis. Dimiceli was an eighth grader who read books and did various activities with Beringer who...

MILWAUKEE -- Jacob Beringer, a Hamilton High School graduate from Sussex, Wis., altered the course of his future and his friends as a result of reconnecting with his eighth-grade buddy.

A few weeks into the start of the 2010-2011 school year, Beringer walked to a dining table during the lunch hour when he spotted a uniformed Soldier whose face looked familiar.

“I approached him and saw his name (plate) and knew then it was him. That’s when I said, ‘Do you remember me?’” Beringer said. “I didn’t recognize him (Beringer) at first,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Dimiceli, a recruiter with the Menomonee Falls Recruiting Station.

Beringer asked Dimiceli if he had gone to St. Agnes, a parochial school in Butler, and whether he remembered being part of a buddy program that matches eighth graders with first graders. Eighth graders would read books to their younger buddies, celebrate holidays, visit the zoo, and do various actitivities together throughout the school year.

After getting over the initial stun, Dimiceli said he couldn’t understand how over the past three years of combing the school they had never bumped into each other. They caught up on each other and then Dimiceli naturally inquired what Beringer would do after graduation.

“I was thinking about going to a technical college to become a mechanic. That was the closest I had to making plans after school,” Beringer said.

Dimiceli said he couldn’t help but to suggest becoming a mechanic in the Army. Beringer said he had given some thought to the Army since his grandfather had served in the Korean War. In fact Beringer wears one of his grandfather’s identification tags and has a tattoo that bears that image.

Beringer said his father would be proud of him to do something that he would have liked to have done. But his mother was a little less excited for him.

“Being able to tell us that his buddy (from St. Agnes) was his recruiter made things easier,” said Kathy Beringer, Jacob’s mother. “I think Jacob knew that would make me more comfortable with the idea. Knowing Nick (Dimiceli) just made everything so much easier.”

Kathy said she felt free to ask any question or voice any concern with Dimiceli because she knew he would provide a straightforward answer.

Beringer said he still needed some time to personally reflect on the prospect of joining the Army, but it helped that his mother would support his decision. Now that Beringer has committed to making the Army his future, four of his friends have also followed suit.

“We don’t want to just sit at a desk, we want to do something good for our country,” Beringer said.

Page last updated Wed June 29th, 2011 at 00:00