Tales from the crypt: Midstate man’s medallion brings life to cemeteries

In a cemetery you’ll see headstones with names and dates on headstones.

There are flags for veterans or markers indicating a particular branch of service or a specific war.

But when Hummelstown native Phil Stuck walks through cemeteries he sees stories. Lots and lots of stories that are mostly untold.

“The whole idea is to get out there and share our loved ones stories with everybody else,” said Stuck, who invented vitae coins. They are round medallions with a flag graphic and a QR chip embedded. Yes, there’s an app for that as Phil demonstrates with his smart phone. He aims it at the code on the coin.

“Put the reader over top of it. It reads it that quick. And then on my website up pops the memorial page. This one here is of my uncle, Corporal Kenneth Stuck.”

In a matter of seconds, Ken Stuck’s obituary appears on the cell phone. He had quite a story and we told it on ABC27 last year. Stuck was killed in Korea in 1950, was missing for 65 years. But his remains were found, identified and returned. He received a funeral with full military honors in the Midstate.

His uncle’s death and service gave birth to Phil’s idea of a vitae coin.

“I’m thinking how can I do something to not just share his story but everybody’s story,” Stuck said.

If you send Phil $200 and biographies, obituaries, even videos of a loved one. He will upload it to his website, vitaecoin.com, put it on a chip and embed it in the coin. He even sends the sand paper to smooth the coin, the epoxy to glue it, and instructions on how to affix it to the headstone or grave marker.

The federal government is very touchy when it comes to touching veterans’ graves in national cemeteries. Phil is working with congressmen to possibly ease restrictions.

“Count me in, I’m a supporter of this. I think it’s a great idea,” boomed Pennsylvania Representative Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) when Phil showed him a vitae coin. Ryan is a retired Marine Corps Colonel and like nearly everyone else whose seen the idea is an enthusiastic proponent. He especially likes the chance to champion the stories of veterans.

“To bring him back to life for others to see and give a perspective that few people can have. I applaud you for doing it,” Ryan told Phil.

It has been said that dead men tell no tales. But Stuck’s coin gives voice to the dearly departed.

“For that person to come back to life, for that person to be memorialized,” Phil said of his coin and his concept.

For more information, visit vitaecoin.com.

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