A Veterans Wall of Honor honoring Riverhead High School graduates who went on to serve in the military will be installed at the high school as the result of a joint effort by the the town’s Veterans Advisory Committee and school officials, committee co-chairs Liz Stokes and Kim Judd told the Riverhead Town Board yesterday.
“We want to acknowledge our graduates who went on to serve in the military and also inspire new generations to serve,” Stokes said.
To that end, the committee is seeking information on Riverhead grads who served in the military. They’re asking members of the community to send veterans’ names, branches and dates of services to Stokes via email.
Collecting the information about veterans will be the most difficult part of this project, Stokes said. It will require veterans or their family members to come forward and contact the committee because the school can’t release the information due to privacy laws, Judd said. So the committee is putting out a public call for help.
Their current plan is to create a large American flag wall display which will include the names and branches of service of Riverhead High School graduates, Stokes and Judd said. Stokes distributed a photo (above) of a display installed at a Concord, New Hampshire Catholic high school as an example of what the display might look like.
“We aim to honor members of the Riverhead community who have served our country. The RCSD and community are proud of our veterans and this is a perfect way to remember the sacrifice that each has made for our freedom and democracy,” Riverhead Schools Superintendent Dr. Aurelia Henriquez said.
The Veterans Wall of Honor will most likely be located in the corridor outside the ROTC office at the high school, Stokes said. The committee has spoken with Riverhead High School principal Dr. Charles Regan and NJROTC Capt. Matt Loughlin about the project, Stokes said.
The committee is currently fundraising to help defray the cost of the project.
Stokes said they’d love to be able to include photos of all veterans — similar to a display created at Mattituck High School — but she’s not sure available space at Riverhead High School could accommodate all the RHS graduates who have served over the years. Riverhead’s student body is much larger than Mattituck’s, she noted, and the number of graduates who went into the military may make a similar display impractical.
The committee is also working on an Operation Dog Tag project to honor Riverhead residents who are veterans. It would include the veteran’s name, branch of service and short bio, along with the veteran’s photo — displayed in the shape of a dog tag. The idea is to put the database on the town’s website and have it scroll on a monitor at town hall, Stokes said.
Stokes and Judd gave the board an update on the Veterans Advisory Committee’s activities, including its efforts to assist homeless veterans, helping veterans obtain assistance with home repairs and working with the town’s alternative transportation committee to place armed services plaques along the Vietnam veterans recreational trail at the Calverton Enterprise Park.