“Tuck in your shirts!”
As the Culver Woodcraft Camp settles into its hectic summer routine, campers and staff are noticing and mourning the absence of a certain loud, booming voice across campus. For many of them, it is their first summer without the beloved Director of Boys & Military Operations, Lt. Col. Keith Wettig.
In honor of Lt. Col. Wettig, a memorial service will be conducted on Saturday, June 30 in the Culver Memorial Chapel at 2 p.m. All are invited and welcome to attend.
Wettig passed away in November, and the grief has been felt deeply around the world as word spread quickly through the famous Culver family network. Now, for those returning to campus, the reality is beginning to settle in that Lt. Col. Wettig will no longer be around to make sure campers quiet down at awards ceremonies or to correct their marching on the way into the dining hall for DRC.
Wettig graduated from CMA in 1972 (Company C) and went on to earn an undergraduate degree from Western Kentucky University as well as a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He then served as a military police officer in the United States Army where he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel.
In 2011, he was hired by Culver to work in Woodcraft as the military tactical officer and after two summers moved on to become the boys director and military officer. When he was not busy in the summer inspecting cabins and getting to know campers, he worked at his local Meijer.
During his time working at camp, he truly fostered a familial environment where campers and staff alike felt welcome, safe, and respected. Sailing instructor and assistant military officer Betse Ellert, who worked closely with Wettig on military activities, mentioned he often forgot to take care of personal tasks, such as his laundry, because he was constantly focused on the campers and always put their needs ahead of his own. She also recalled that “during my Gold ‘C’ Cardinal summer, it was his first year and by the end of the summer everyone had a personal relationship with him.”
Woodcraft boating director and assistant military officer Drew Thomas, another close friend and colleague, shared the colonel’s personal motto: “AAA-0: Anywhere, Anytime, Anything, Bar-None.” This described “everything you needed to know about the lengths he was willing to go for the kids’ sake,” Thomas said.
Not only will Keith Wettig be remembered for his passionate dedication to Culver and the campers’ experience, but also his quirky and fun personality, his profound voice constantly reminding kids to tuck in their shirts, and his love of fried chicken from Café Max, just to name a few things. He told the Woodcraft Vedette in a 2017 article, “Culver is my home. Ask me where I live and I’ll give you a different answer.”