Anthony Wayne Adds 38 Names To Military Wall Of Honor

Anthony Wayne High School students welcomed dozens of area veterans for a special presentation on November 1.

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — It’s been 61 years since Jeffrey Figmaka was an Anthony Wayne High School student, but he remembers it well.

“I was popular and I was good-looking,” laughed Figmaka, a 1962 graduate. “I had an absolutely great time. I played football, ran track and had a good group of friends. I just enjoyed it.”

A few years later, with the Vietnam War underway, Figmaka was drafted into the Army. Instead, he joined the Navy.

“I did it to see the world, and I did,” he said, explaining that he was stationed out of California and made trips to Hawaii, the Philippines and Japan, as well as Vietnam. He served on a helicopter squadron attached to the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge (CV 33). His squadron completed search and rescue missions in Vietnam and supported the carrier in other ways.

On November 1, Figmaka was one of 38 alumni to have their names added to the high school’s Military Wall of Honor, during a program organized by high school staff and students.

First unveiled in 2019, the wall now has 687 names of alumni and district staff members who have served or are currently serving, arranged by decade and listing the names and branch of service. One section also includes the 35 names of those who were killed in action, missing in action or prisoners of war. Michael Cordy, a 1963 graduate who served in the Army, was killed in action in 1981. His name was added to the list this year.

“For all of their dedication and sacrifices, we thank them, their friends and their families,” said assistant principal Stephanie Buckenmeyer. “We also extend our gratitude to the troops that are currently serving both domestically and overseas.”

Ashley Bortel, a 2022 graduate, is currently stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California, so her parents Stacy and Brian, along with brother and 2019 graduate Jacob, came to the school to record the program and take photos of her name on the wall.

“She wants to be a nurse,” Brian explained. “I had taken her to St. Luke’s for the (military) flyover during COVID. It was done to thank all of the first responders and nurses for their time. It stuck with her, and I think she liked the thought of serving her country.”

The first in her family to join the military, Ashley’s decision surprised her family, but they’re happy with her choice.

“We love it. We’ve been there to visit her and went to graduations on base,” Stacy said. “We really support her.”

Ashley – who turned 20 on November 1 – plans to graduate with a degree in nursing by the time she finishes her six-year commitment.

Charles Rose, a 2003 graduate, was 22 when he decided to join the Navy. A chief petty officer who was recently transferred to Ann Arbor, Rose has since earned a bachelor’s degree in international business management from Amer-ican Military University and an MBA in human resource management from University of Nebraska. Rose and several other veterans and active-duty personnel visited classrooms prior to the honor wall installation, answering student questions about their experiences.

The veterans program also included a speech by 1998 graduate and Army veteran Jason Graven, who now supports veterans with the nonprofit Task Force 20.

For a video of the entire program, or to find out more about submitting a name for the Military Wall of Honor, visit www.anthonywayneschools.org.

AW Adds 38 Names To Military Wall Of Honor

Air Force

Ashley Bortel, 2022
Samuel Braker, 2023
Eric Burdue, 2019
Chris Campbell, 1982 (Air National Guard)
Grant Dick, 1985
Isaac Gallaher, 2020
Jake Heilmann, 2002
Blaine Instone, 2019
Kelsey Meridieth, 2009
Nathan Miles, 1996
Joseph Roush, 2023
Wayne Sieja, 1966
Randy Studer, 1972 (+Navy)

Coast Guard
David Cole, 1983

Army
Michael Cordy, 1963
Michael Elling, 1957
John Hamernik, 2020
John Kenny, 2010
Lance Martin, 1971
James Matuszak, 2005
Brock Noaker, 2022
James Rasmusson, 2022
James Roush, 2021
Richard Thomas, 1949
Tim Walbolt, 1966

Marines
Charles Kuhn, 1963
John Trausch, 1965
MaryJane Wise, 2022

Navy
Jeffrey Brossia, 1983
Michael Battles, 1985
Jeffrey D. Figmaka, 1962
David Flagg, 1986
Jacob Copley, 2022
Evan Kenny, 2012
JoEllen Rose, 2001
Charles Rose, 2003
Craig Sherwin, 1962

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