The process of writing a cover story about the life and times of Chuck Yeager was, perhaps, the most challenging job I have yet undertaken since starting the Huntington Quarterly eight years ago. It's not that the subject matter wasn't interesting, it was too interesting. It's not the fact that the story lacked good material, there was far too much. And when you are writing about a man who, through your eyes is a living legend, you strive in vain to do his story justice. Nevertheless, despite the hours of research, interviews and bleeding on rewrite after rewrite, you come away from the endeavor with a sense of satisfaction, knowing you have done the best with your ability.
After all, that is how Chuck Yeager lived. In every challenge he met, whether it was shooting a rifle as a boy, combat flying in WWII, fishing for golden trout in the High Sierras or drinking a buddy under the table, Yeager always set out to be the best.
It should come as no surprise that Marshall University named a unique scholarship program after Yeager and its motto is "Only The Best." Founded in 1986, the Yeager Scholars Program recruits the finest students in the nation and provides a truly unique educational experience including customized curriculums, special lecture series and opportunities to study abroad. But in recent years, the program has not been properly promoted diminishing what was once an outlet to showcase Marshall University on a national scale.
Furthermore, as part of the Yeager Scholars Program, the university holds the rare distinction of housing nearly all of Yeager's trophies, awards and personal memorabilia. But, for whatever reason, little has been done to utilize this historic collection.
However, in recent weeks, the university has entertained the idea of opening a Yeager Museum on campus that would attract visitors from across the country. It is a project long overdue and worthy of the community's support. In fact, I have one New Year's resolution for 1998 - to show my respect for the most accomplished West Virginian in history by helping make the Yeager Museum a reality. After all, no one deserves it more.
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