Von Harten tribute showing Friday night on Beaufort County Channel

cconley@islandpacket.comMay 30, 2013 

Skeet Von Harten

  • Want to watch?

    The County Channel is on Comcast's Channel 2, Hargray's Channels 9 and 113, and on Time Warner Hilton Head's Channel 63. It also can be accessed on the county's website at www.bcgov.net.

The first video tribute to a Beaufort County resident on The County Channel will air Friday night.

The program, which features photographs, archived footage and interviews, will focus on the life of Skeet Von Harten, a decorated military veteran, former county councilman and lifelong resident.

The show, called "River Rat: A Tribute to Skeet Von Harten," will run at 8 p.m. It also can be viewed on demand through The County Channel page on the county's website.

Von Harten, 80, said he's honored to be profiled on the program.

"For them to make that effort and express that thought, I really appreciate it," he said. "It lets you know ... maybe you did something right along the way."

Von Harten was commissioned into the Marine Corps directly after college. He served two tours in Vietnam and was awarded a Silver Star, Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars. He retired as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years.

He also served two separate stints on County Council, from 1989 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2008. He chaired the council from 1991 to 1992 and served as vice chairman for eight years.

In 2009, Von Harten received the Order of the Palmetto, the state's highest honor, from then-Gov. Mark Sanford.

"When a public servant who has accomplished as much as Skeet retires from public life, it is only appropriate to document his achievements," county administrator Gary Kubic said in a statement. "He worked hard to improve the quality of life for the people of Beaufort County, and we are proud to share part of his story."

County spokeswoman Joy Nelson said the video profile is the first of its kind for The County Channel.

So what exactly is a river rat?

"That's referred to sometimes around here as someone who was raised on the water or spent a lot of time on the water fishing, hunting or crabbing," Von Harten said.

From a young age, he joined his father on the water. He and his brother sold shrimp they caught in local waters door-to-door to pay back his father for a $25 boat he bought them.

"We took him the $25, and he said, 'OK, you learned your lesson, now go buy your mama something nice," Von Harten recalled.

Now almost 70 years later, he can't remember what that "something nice" was.

Although he has yet to see the film, Von Harten said he's looking forward to it.

"I hope it's good," he said.

Related content

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service