VICENZA, Italy – Adaptability and resiliency are qualities found in military kids, who often move from state to state or even overseas.
For Sam Kloepper, 14, taking part in Boy Scouts has made military family life easier. It’s also helped him find something he is passionate about. For his Eagle Scout project, he thought about what it was like for him moving to U.S. Army Garrison Italy.
“I’ve moved here twice and lived in the Ederle Inn,” said Kloepper, referring to the Army Family Lodging on Caserma Ederle. “They have movie rentals but nothing for books. So, I thought I could put something out here for books.”
Kloepper, whose father commands the 173rd Airborne Brigade at Caserma Del Din, aspired to earn his Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts that symbolizes dedication to one’s community, Kloepper said.
Kloepper’s idea for a “Little Free Library,” came true with help from the garrison officials, who allowed him to build the structure not far from the lodging area, right near the Central Processing Facility – where all newcomers process in to the community. It took months of planning, with approvals and digging permits.
"The presence of this library is indicative of the vibrant community spirit that exists across the U.S. Army Garrison Italy,” said Col. Matthew J. Gomlak, who commands the garrison and approved the project. “While many believe it's the place that makes an assignment in Italy so special – those of us who live and work here know, it's people that make the difference."
Kloepper hopes the library brings positivity to military kids who are moving to and from Vicenza.
“I put it by the Central Processing Facility, so if you come out here and there are other people here, you can meet new people,” Kloepper said. “So, it’s really more than just the books.”
Here’s how it works. Kids can take a book, but they should also put a book back in its place. This makes sure the library is always full for others. Books placed in the library don’t need to be new. In fact, gently used is preferred.
Friends from his troop helped with construction. Troop 295 scouts realize the importance of community service, said Lt. Col. Timothy Adair, who serves as scoutmaster.
“Any project that can help improve the quality of life for those transitioning in or out of the Vicenza Military Community is a tremendous help,” Adair said. “We are very thankful to Sam and all the volunteers that helped.”