MONROE, Ohio — Service men and women soon will receive recognition alongside athletes and academic honorees at Monroe High School.
Members of the Facebook group Proud Military Families of Monroe are working with Monroe Local School District to create a display honoring current hometown members of the United States military.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Monroe school board President Tom Leeds said. “We need to acknowledge our people from Monroe that are in the military.”
Kelley Dudleson, whose son graduated from Monroe and is now a West Point cadet, created the private Facebook group to provide unity and support for those with loved ones in the military. The group offers a place for people to share updates and make prayer requests with others who are going through similar experiences.
“Pretty much if you have a loved one serving, you’re welcome to be a part of the group,” Dudleson said.
Dudleson and one other Proud Military Families of Monroe member addressed school board members during their regular March meeting, offering to create and maintain the display at the high school.
She got the idea to create a military recognition board after seeing one at Kings High School.
“Every school should be acknowledging the people from their school who are currently serving,” she said.
While the city of Monroe has a veterans’ memorial for those who have served in the past, there’s nothing in the community to honor individuals currently in the armed forces.
“It’s just a good way of honoring them,” said school board Vice President Dave Grant, who also is a member of Proud Military Families of Monroe.
“There are a quite a few of our students that have gone on to serve our country,” Grant said.
Of the graduating classes between 2012 and 2015, Dudleson said she can name about 30 alumni currently serving in the military.
Because the district promotes alumni who go on to attend college, it makes sense to recognize those who choose to serve in the military, said Phil Cagwin, superintendent of Monroe Local Schools.
“This makes a natural parallel in promoting that these … graduates served in the armed forces from Monroe High School,” he said.
While the primary purpose of the display is to honor the community’s service men and women, it also will make students aware of a possible post-secondary path.
“I think it’s a way of recognizing our recent graduates who are serving our country, but also informing our current students that this is something they may choose to do upon graduation,” Cagwin said.
Dudleson and other group members are working with Cagwin and Grant to plan the size, location and other details of the display.
While the planning is still in progress, Dudleson hopes to install the display in the high school’s main corridor near the athletic and academic trophies.
She expects it to include photos of alumni serving in the military as well as a Monroe graduate who was killed in action. Each photo will be accompanied by the individual’s name, graduation year and branch of service.
Members of Proud Military Families of Monroe will maintain the board once it is installed.