Ygnacio Valley HS dedicates two benches in honor of six alumni who died in the Vietnam War
During an early Veterans Day Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 9th, Ygnacio Valley HS dedicated two memorial benches in honor of six alumni who died in the Vietnam War.
The alumni honored were:
Randall Bingham Choate (July 25, 1949 - August 3, 1968)
James Kevin Koehler (May 2, 1947 - June 11, 1967)
Daniel Lee McKechnie (November 24, 1947 – November 25, 1968)
Willard Edward Nelson (Oct. 16, 1948 - Jan. 30, 1968)
Ronnie Cardoza Pimentel (January 17, 1948 – September 1, 1968)
John Charles Sterling (June 15, 1949 – December 15, 1968).
Aluma Heidi Coffman Shearer (class of 1972) coordinated the dedication with Principal Jonathan Pike, who is an Army veteran and CA National Guard member. Details about Pike's military service are in a Friday Letter Staff Profile here.
Shearer read brief comments about each of the alumni and told current students they should enjoy their time in high school, which she considers the best years of her life.
Pike said after the ceremony that he wanted to honor Ygnacio Valley alumni who have served, similar to himself. "These ones didn't come home and they need to be recognized and not forgotten," he said. Since he has become principal, Pike said he has enjoyed connecting with alumni, who have been active in beautification projects at the school. "The Ygnacio Valley alumni have a lot of affinity with the school to come back, and I want to honor them," he said.
Dan Hartwig, the brother of James Kevin Koehler, told students that James died not long after his 20th birthday, just a few years after he had graduated from high school. Hartwig said afterward that he appreciated the memorial. "I think it's wonderful that Ygnacio Valley High School and the Mt. Diablo school district and Mr. Pike and Heidi have contributed not only these benches, but all the class benches," he said. "It's a tough time of year for my family thinking about how we haven't had James in our life for more than 50 years. But this is an honor and we're very proud." Below are photos and information about the alumni who were honored.
- Ygnacio Valley HS