Honoring those who serve

Sarah Bunich
St. James Plaindealer

St. James high school's event center has added a new addition to its wall of fame. It's not athletics related, instead it is a plaque to honor those who are serving in the military and graduated from St. James.

Superintendent Steve Heil was the person who brought forth the idea of honoring those who serve. It started back when Heil was in Arizona, him and a group of principals  together thought to make a wall of honor for the kids who enlisted from the high school. The reason for the wall is because he said we have picture of the teams and trophies for the hall of fame but these students choose to serve our country in an unselfish way and their pictures are not up.

Walls of Honor have been becoming a new piece that schools have been adding. Heil has added one to every school he has worked at since leaving Arizona. 

Military families, VFW, American Legion, and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon have helped bring the wall of honor to life with donations. Donations also came from the school's staff.

" We have done what I call a red white and blue jeans day," said Heil." For Veterans day, Memorial day pay five dollars for that. The first round, Veterans day, we took the money from that to put in to the wall."

Making the Wall of Honor was one of the first things Heil did beside COVID planning when he started as superintendent. SPX, who made the athletic boards that are hanging in the event center made the board for the wall of honor too. Heil has a friend who made the emblems of the branches at other schools and liked the way he made them so he made the emblems that are on the top of the wall of honor.

Placement of the Wall of Honor was strategically planned, Heil wanted it to go somewhere people would see it and be able to admire it. So it wouldn't work to go anywhere but the event center. Having it by the concessions was thought out to because even more people would see it when they were getting food during games. 

As of right now there are eighteen pictures on the Wall of Honor and Heil had two more pictures to put up and two other families reach out asking for their kids who are serving to be put on the wall.

" A wall like this is ever changing and as word spreads now that its there and people see somebody will notice so and so is in the Air Force and are actively serving and I bet their family moved away, so they don't know," said Heil." It kind of goes by word of mouth."

Families who have a St. James graduate serving in the military and would like them on the Wall of Honor can contact Superintedent Heil, Nancy Pinke or Heather Spitzner to get their son or daughter's picture on the wall.