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'Moon tree' honors life of Pfc. Brandon Kreischer

The moon tree's roots are connected to the Apollo 12 mission. Now a part of Bryan High School's grounds, it's dedicated to a fallen soldier and former student.

BRYAN, Ohio — It's been almost three years since the death of Pfc. Brandon Kreischer

He graduated from Bryan High School only a year before being killed in action while serving in Afghanistan

Now his memory is planted in the form of a unique memorial: a "moon tree."

The tree planted at Bryan High School is a descendant sprouted from one of the seeds taken to space on Apollo 12 in 1971. Of the hundreds of seeds taken on that mission, only 50 original trees remain.

Jim Funderburg is a radio personality in Bryan. He said he was contacted by Scott Phillips, a man raised in Bryan and now retired after working for NASA, who wanted to memorialize Kreischer.

"He [Phillips] called me up and said 'we've got to do something. What can we do?' and I said 'I don't know. Come up with something,'" Funderburg said. "He said 'Well, give me a couple days. We'll figure this thing out.'"

Funderburg said the memorial is a dedication to Kreischer's service to the country.

Credit: Kreischer family

"He gave his all," Funderburg said. "And I think everybody in the United States ought to honor Brandon and his memory right now because we always need those types of people that are willing to go out and do whatever is needed to keep us safe."

It's something Bryan Mayor Carrie Schlade said shows pride for the hero she knew from a young age.

"It means a lot to continue to honor Brandon and his family in any way that we can, and the community coming out and so many people having hands on this tree over the last two years to care for it has meant a lot to me personally," Schlade said. "And that's just the community pride we have here."

The tree will live on for decades, eventually growing to be dozens of feet tall, representing the growing legacy Kreischer left behind.

Credit: WTOL 11

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