BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Eight Maumee High School alumni and former staff members were recognized during “A Night of Stars” on February 3.
The Distinguished Alumni Awards presentations and the Athletic Hall of Fame and Athletic Hall of Excellence and Contribution induction ceremony was held at Parkway Plaza to recognize the contributions of those individuals.
During the ceremony, athletic director Cam Coutcher thanked those who had sent in the nominations and encouraged attendees to submit names for the 2025 Distinguished Alumni Awards. Forms can be found on the Maumee.k12.oh.us website. The deadline is August 15.
A Distinguished Alumnus Award is meant to recognize an MHS graduate who has made significant achievements after leaving Maumee High School.
“This is always a special night for us at Maumee,” Coutcher said. “As a Maumee graduate, teacher, coach, administrator, it is one my favorite things we do to honor people that have given so much and accomplished so much at Maumee High School.”
In order to make the evening possible, several people and organizations were credited for their help, including administrative staff, the board of education, Wixey’s Bakery, Impulse Studio, Kim and Conrad Kolbow and several others.
MHS 2003 alumnus Jordan Strack introduced each award winners and inductee.
Prior to the award ceremony, Strack held a moment of silence for 1965 MHS alumnus and 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award winner George Chapman.
Athletic Hall of Fame — David Perez
David Perez, a 2002 graduate, was a three-sport athlete for Maumee High School. Perez’s accomplishments include nine varsity letters across three sports.
Perez credited his coaches for helping him reach his goals and the rest of the school staff and community for supporting him during his years at MHS.
“My family was always there, taking me to and from practice, going across the state for games and races. Thank you for sticking it out in the cold, and sometimes the heat,” Perez said to his family.
Athletic Hall of Fame — Alexander Reese
A 2003 graduate, Alex Reese was a member of both the MHS football program and baseball program. He was the starting quarterback for three years and co-captain of the football and baseball teams.
Reese said his time in Maumee taught him the value of three things: leadership, service and teamwork.
Those three values created the foundation for his life, which prepared him for his career in the military.
“I’m so fortunate for all that Maumee has done for my family and me,” Reese said. “I know I have not been a part of this community for the past 18 years, but my connection through my mom and brothers makes it feel like I am still connected to Maumee.
Reese thanked his mother for her involvement in helping him get to where he is, too.
Athletic Hall of Fame — Corey DeWitte
Corey DeWitte, a 2005 graduate, holds several MHS career records in relation to his time on the football team and was also a member of the basketball program and men’s volleyball.
DeWitte said his accomplishments would not have been possible without the coaches he met through Maumee and their guidance and support.
“I just want to thank everybody that helped me through the years. I appreciate it,” DeWitte said to the crowd.
Athletic Hall of Excellence and Contribution — Robert Morrill
Robert Morrill, a former coach and educator, made significant strides in the wrestling program at MHS throughout his years there.
He was previously inducted into the Michigan Chapter of the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
He passed away in 2022 and his children attended the event. His son, Rob Morrill, accepted the Maumee award on his behalf.
Rob said his dad was always coaching, and he made a point to have teams that were loyal and committed to excellence.
“I think he learned those attributes here in Maumee,” Rob said. “It is a community that is loyal and committed to excellence. Thank you for recognizing our dad and teaching him to be the coach that he became.”
Distinguished Alumnus — Gene Parker
A 1962 graduate, Gene Parker, has become a pillar in the musical industry around Toledo. Known for his specialization in jazz, Parker has become a familiar face, having been an instructor and student for several decades.
Parker thanked Tom Brady and the nominating committee for bestowing the honor on him.
“I am a believer that you should mention all the people that have been really pertinent and helped you achieve what you have accomplished,” Parker said.
He credited his wife, his mother, several other members of his family, his teachers and first band director for instilling his love of music and supporting him over the years.
“All of these people were really, really important to me. I first learned from my family, then I learned from all my teachers, and now I am learning from my children and grandchildren,” Parker said. “It’s a great life.”
Distinguished Alumnus — Dennis McDermott
Dennis McDermott, a 1967 graduate, was an educator with the schools for two years in the 1970s before he began his professional consulting career.
During his time as a professional consultant, McDermott has traveled across the world and met many important people, including Jimmy Carter and Queen Elizabeth II, but the place he grew up in and his family has had the most significant impact on his life.
“I could not have grown up in a better place,” McDermott said.
He listed the teachers and coaches who filled the role of mentors and leaders and taught him about ethics, education and how to achieve his goals.
It was his wife, though, who changed his life every day for the better, he said.
“She is the inspiration to my life,” McDermott said.
He learned over the years that a simple decision can change the trajectory of your life.
“I am absolutely certain the positive direction of my life and the successes I’ve achieved are in large part due to the lessons learned and the people that I met at Maumee High School,” McDermott said.
Distinguished Alumnus — John Snyder
A 1969 graduate, John Snyder has been a part of several industries, first with the U.S. Army, then at a large international engineering and construction company, and later in the real estate sector.
He has also been a significant part of the soccer community, both locally and nationally from the youth to collegiate levels.
Snyder said he has thought about how he got to the most defining points in his life, and he credits his time in Maumee for getting him there.
“I was never best in anything I did, but I knew I could compete because of my classmates,” Snyder said of what he had learned from his teammates at MHS.
Snyder said one of the important lessons he has learned from his years is that no one cares what kind of player a person is until they know what kind of teammate they are.
“I haven’t lived in Maumee for 50 years, but Maumee lives in me every day,” Snyder said.
Distinguished Alumna — Doris (Smith) Foster
Doris (Smith Foster), a 1969 graduate, began her career as a registered nurse before later venturing into the field of emergency medical services, where she made significant strides in the industry.
Foster helped develop a camp for first responders’ children and a program to deploy AEDs on fire trucks and police vehicles.
She said she learned from her parents that it is not enough to live in a community, but that she had to be an active participant in that community, too.
It was because of them she made it a priority to volunteer in her community and later began receiving awards for her help.
“When I look back at the Maumee school system, I really feel they challenged me academically. They gave me the opportunity to excel,” Foster said.