Members of the Army inducted as Hampton Heroes
Each year, the Hampton Township School District honors members of the military, past and present, as Hampton Heroes.
Traditionally, the ceremony for new inductees alternated between high school, middle school, and an elementary building.
“During the pandemic, we decided to move that outside,” Superintendent Michael Loughead said at this year’s event. “I don’t think we’ll ever go back inside. Every time we go out, the weather is nice. This allows us to celebrate together and invite as many guests as possible.
Indeed, clear skies and abnormally warm temperatures greeted the Nov. 3 ceremony at Fridley Field, with members of the community joining the body of high school students to welcome the Hampton Heroes class of 2022:
• Sergeant. First Class Shawn Barber, a graduate of Hampton High School who has served in the U.S. Army since 2002, including 14 years in Special Operations Command. He was deployed 13 times for combat and diplomatic missions in Iraq, Syria, Colombia and Honduras.
Barber, whose active status kept him from attending the ceremony, plans to retire from the military in the spring and move with his family to the Pittsburgh area.
• Sergeant. Nicholas DiCaprio, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam from February 1967 to October 1968. Lifetime member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3945 and American Legion Post 785, he is mentioned in the book “Impact Zone: The Battle of the DMZ”. in Vietnam, 1967-1968,” a combat memoir by fellow Marine James S. Brown.
• Cap. Robert Gettings, who joined the Marines in September 1970. He was stationed at Guantanamo Bay Army Base and also served in a reconnaissance battalion at Camp Lejeune, NC
• Petty Officer 3rd Class John E. Myros, who was in the Navy Seabees from 1967 to 1969. He was wounded in action in July 1968 while serving in Vietnam.
• Sergeant. Patrick James Peavornick, active in the Marine Corps from 1965 to 1968, served in Vietnam the intervening two years. He received two Purple Hearts
“Let me say how humbled and honored I feel to be on this podium with these incredible veterans,” Lughead said.
The guest speaker for the ceremony was Dr. Elaine Berkowitz, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and practicing dentist in the North Hills. She wrote an autobiography, “Live Life…Love Country,” about her time in the military, from enlistment in 1974 to retirement in 2012.
“In Iraq, I promised my friends here at home that I wouldn’t volunteer to do anything dangerous,” she said of one of her deployments. “But I did. I went out as the only doctor in a caravan to treat people in the villages, little in dentistry, but important in first aid.
Twice she was flown out of the country for treatment of injuries, including to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
Berkowitz has also served in the Republic of Kosovo, which last year awarded him an honorary doctorate, an honorary title recognizing his work in helping provide health care to the country’s citizens and training medical professionals.
“I taught doctors and dentists how to organize a forensic panel to identify bodies with dental records,” she said as an example.
To open the Hampton Heroes event, high school band member Brooks Brady performed “Reveille.” Classmates Jason Andrews and Brittney Towers closed the proceedings by playing “Taps.”
In between, the Hampton High School Choir sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” conducted by Ryan Meyer. The school’s wind ensemble, conducted by Chad Himmler, performed “Marches of the Armed Forces” and “America, the Beautiful”.
Marlee Rudy, president of the high school history club, gave a brief overview of Veterans Day, which was originally called Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I on November 11 1918. In 1954, Congress changed the name to honor veterans. of all wars.
Other students taking an active part in the ceremony included Molly Bernett, Kelly Gibson, Ben Ritz and Kai Suyama.
Following the event, six veterans visited the school, bringing military memorabilia, for a “living museum experience.”
“Please take time during your lunch period to speak with the veterans and also to thank them for their service,” Rebecca Cunningham, assistant superintendent of the school district, told the students.
The principal of the school, Marguerite Imbarlina, expressed her collective gratitude to the guests of honor.
“On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students of Hampton High School, I want to thank you for your service to our country, your unwavering commitment to freedom, and your willingness to make sacrifices for others,” she said. “We recognize that your commitment to democracy comes at a price, and we will always be grateful for your service.”
Harry Funk is a news editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Harry at [email protected]