By Eric Dehm
Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Steven Arango is currently attending the University of Alabama’s School of Law. Before going to Alabama, he spent a semester at Bates College in Maine. While there, he read a story in the New York Times about a Bates alum who he had a direct tie to, despite the fact that they’d never met.
George Whitney was a member of both the football and lacrosse teams at Bates. After graduating served in the Marine Corps in the 3rd Marine Reconnaissance Battalion and deployed to Iraq in 2005. He left the Marine Corps as a Captain but did not stop serving our nation. He joined the CIA and served until he was killed in action in Afghanistan on December 18, 2016.
Arango read about Whitney’s life and career and couldn’t believe he’d never heard of him, or seen anything about him on the Bates campus. That was something he wanted to see change.
“After I read about him, I knew right away that Bates needed to honor him,” Arango tells ConnectingVets.com. “He epitomized selfless service and gave his life in protection of our country. He could’ve gone and made millions of dollars on the NYSE with a degree from Bates but decided to serve. Simply put, he’s a hero.”
And so, 2nd Lt. Arango has put forth a petition at Change.org imploring Bates College to put a memorial to Whitney on campus. The memorial would feature a sculpted bust made by USMC Colonel (Ret.) Lee Busby and in Arango’s eyes, would be the perfect tribute to a man he feels deserves one.
In fact, despite being the one who began the movement to memorialize Whitney, Arango isn’t really comfortable with the spotlight being on anyone but the man he calls a hero.
“I couldn’t care less if my name is even put on this,” Arango said during an appearance on ConnectingVets The Morning Briefing program. “If they said tomorrow ‘hey we want the bust but you can never come on campus again’ Ok. Don’t put me in the newspapers, I don’t care. I just want Captain Whitney to be honored. And for the next 100, 200 years with Bates students walking next to him and seeing him? I promise you Bates will turn out even better students than they are now.”
You can hear Arango’s full interview from The Morning Briefing below. To download and listen later, click the share button and select “download” from the list of options.