Todd Arrowsmith (left), Kailey Clark, Erin Meottel, Rory Mita, and Principal Mark Crawford from West Ranch High School stand before a wall that will become the "Wall of Honor." Courtesy photo
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Four West Ranch High School students are developing a project that will honor West Ranch alumni who are presently, or have served our community and our country.

The idea to honor alumni who serve – or have served – as military, law enforcement and emergency personnel evolved with Senior Rory Mita’s inspiration to create something special for his high school as he cherishes his many family members who have served our great country.

Mita’s brother Riley graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 2015 and is presently training to become a pilot at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida.  His great-grandfathers are WWII combat Veterans, his grandfathers served in the Korean War and he has three uncles who graduated from the Air Force Academy.

Senior Erin Meottel has a brother serving as a combat U.S. Army medic and another brother serving in the U.S. Navy.

Junior Brooke Shriver has a brother serving in the U.S. Air Force and another brother who worked in law enforcement and the fire department.  Senior Kailey Clark’s great grandfather is a WWII Veteran and he was a fireman and a paramedic.

Rory recruited his fellow patriotic students whom he knew could help formulate a solid plan for presenting to their school principal, Mr. Mark Crawford.  In turn, they solicited support from Mr. Todd Arrowsmith, Faculty Coordinator at West Ranch High School.

The students’ plan is to install individual plaques honoring their alumni on the exterior of their school’s library wall.

With exceptional assistance from Mr. Arrowsmith, Mita, Clark, Meottel, and Shriver presented their plan to Mr. Crawford and he immediately jumped on board leading the foursome to launching their funding drive January 20.

The students goal is to receive $6,500 in contributions, and to date they have collected $4,900.  The group targeted May 26, three days prior to Memorial Day, as their unveiling date. They plan to invite all alumni, students, veterans, public service personnel, Congressman Steve Knight, and the general public.

“We hope to counteract the excessive negativity we all too often see these days against our military and those who publicly serve our community,” Clark said. “We also hope that our project will inspire other schools and organizations to honor those who serve us.”

Meottel added, “We all know that our military is underappreciated.  My Army brother was advised to avoid wearing his uniform in public when traveling due to expected backlash by protestors.”

“We hope all our graduates who serve or served in the military or as first responders, can return to West Ranch and see their names on our wall, Mita said. “We know they don’t do it for recognition, but we want them to know that we are thinking about them and are forever grateful for their choice to serve.”

So far, they have at least 80 alumni to honor and the search continues to insure all alumni are honored.  The list of honorees can be viewed online at http://www.westranchservice.org/service-wall.html.

With the students strong desire to generate a positive atmosphere in our community, the public can help by making a donation at www.gofundme.com/westranchwallofhonor.

 

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