photo from Mr. Brian Bill
On October 4, 2016, Elder High honored “The Elder Eleven” once again in their annual Changing of the Signs ceremony. This ceremony was put together by Elder’s Support the Troops Club and Mr. Brian Bill, Elder’s Alumni Director.
Elder’s Support the Troops Club was created in 2008 by seniors Matt Brannen and Ben Combs who wanted to send care packages to those fighting for our country in the Middle East. A few years later, Brannen and Combs gave the reigns to Bill who was in control of the club until this past year when Bill decided to hand the club off to new faculty member, Mr. Justin Quatman.
After being asked to take over as moderator of the club, Quatman knew he would love to do it.
“After learning about the club and some of the different activities they participate in during the year, I knew the club would be a great opportunity for me,” commented Quatman.
“I have a strong respect for the military and armed forces. Being the moderator of the Support the Troops Club provides me with an opportunity to give back to the men and women who serve our country, especially the Elder alumni serving overseas,” he added.
Elder High School and the Support the Troops Club honor members of the Elder community who fell during the Vietnam War in a very special way, The Elder Eleven.
The Elder Eleven are all graduates of Elder High School and include Leonard Frederick Vogt, Jr. ‘43, Michael Lee Faulkner ’66, Thomas Patrick Kindt ’58, Donald Lawrence Schnee ’64, Michael Francis Huwel ’66, Albert Francis Sayer, Jr. ’55, Robert James Oates ’63, Paul Patrick Davis ’66, David Raymond Caruso ’65, Michael Robert Witt ’67, and William Francis Reiter ’66.
Along with members of the Elder community, State Representative Lou Terhar ’67 pushed for law SB245, which states that approximately a quarter mile of Ohio Route 264 (Glenway Avenue) to be renamed Elder High School Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway, to be pushed through legislation. On June 5, 2015, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law SB245 to honor the men of Elder who died while serving in Vietnam.
Quatman commented on the importance of the Changing of the Signs ceremony. “It really puts things in perspective when you think about how young some of the veterans were who died while fighting for our country in Vietnam. Not only that, but the Changing of the Signs Ceremony means a great deal to the family, classmates, and friends of the Elder Eleven.”
In the first year, the names of each member of The Elder Eleven rotated monthly on the Memorial Sign Monument so family and friends wouldn’t have to wait too terribly long to see their loved one’s names on the signs.
During the second year of the dedication of the Memorial Sign Monument, Leonard Frederick Vogt, Jr. ’43 had his name facing the east side of Glenway Avenue while Michael Lee Faulkner ’66 was facing the west.
In the most recent Changing of the Signs ceremony, two new members of the Elder Eleven were honored on the Memorial Sign Monument.
United States Marine Corps Sergeant Thomas Patrick Kindt ’58 died on September 21, 1966 in the Quang Nam Province in South Vietnam at the age of twenty-six. Kindt was the third casualty of Elder High School in the Vietnam War and his name is hung facing east on the Memorial Sign Monument to honor the sacrifices he made for our country.
On February 16, 1967 in the Kontum Province of South Vietnam, United States Army Corporal Donald Lawrence Schnee ’64 was killed in battle as Elder’s fourth casualty of the Vietnam War at the age of twenty-one. Elder High School honors all that Schnee did for this country by hanging his name on the west side of the Memorial Sign Monument.
Elder High School dedicates the Memorial Sign Monument to two other members of The Elder Eleven on the first Tuesday of every October. Next year, Michael Francis Huwel ’66 and Albert Francis Sayer, Jr. ’55 will be honor during the Changing of the Signs ceremony.
The annual Changing of the Signs ceremony serves as a reminder to the community that our Veterans are being honored for their service and ultimate service and everyone should take time out of their busy lives to attend future ceremonies like this one to show how much we appreciate our troops.