A black granite memorial stone was unveiled and dedicated at Edgewood High School Friday to honor the memory of former students who died while in service in the military or with the police, fire or emergency services.
Sponsored by the Edgewood High School Alumni Association, the two-foot tall by two-foot wide stone has been placed within the entrance flower garden outside the school.
The late afternoon ceremony, held near the site of the stone, featured speakers from the school, the Harford County School System and Board of Education, the military, the Maryland State Police, Harford County Sheriff's Office and the Harford County's fire and emergency medical services. The Edgewood High Marching Band also took part as did Luke Erickson, Pastor of the Mountain Christian Church, Edgewood campus.
EHS Principal Kilo Mack said the Memorial Stone is "just one more example of how a group of adults in our community can have a continuing positive impact on their school."
Mack said the stone will not only serve as a reminder of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, "but as a catalyst for solemn reflection in a variety of observances in the future."
Helen Morrison, President of the EHS Alumni Association told the approximately 50 people who came to witness the unveiling and dedication of the stone that the Memorial Stone project was an outgrowth of the Association-sponsored EHS Hall of Fame, now in its seventh year with 48 alumni, former staff and community supporters having been inducted so far.
"Early on, we realized there was a gap in the Hall of Fame [involving] the bestowing of honors on former students who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, their county, or their community as members of our military or the police and fire service," she said. "These people – some of whom we know their stories and others whose sacrifice is known only to their families and their God – had their lives cut short before they were able to build their legacy of achievements."
Morrison, a charter member of the EHS Hall of Fame and a 1961 graduate of the school, said the stone will "remind all of us of a sacrifice that can never be adequately applauded."
The stone, which was created by Edgewood alumnus Steve Hughes, owner and operator of Hughes Memorials, bears the inscription: "Dedicated to EHS Alumni who gave their lives in service to their community/country."
It was unveiled by Mack and Morrison, followed by EHS Junior Maggie Jones playing taps.
Funds were raised by the EHS Alumni Association to have the stone created and put in place.
Edgewood High senior Amanda Dorsey, president of the school SGA and senior class, as well as this year's student member on the Harford County Board of Education, expressed her pride in being a student at the school and said the stone will serve as a lasting memorial for students now and in the future of their close ties to the military and police/fire service.
Col. Patrick Nikkila, Chief of Staff of the 20th CBRNE Command at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, spoke of his appreciation on behalf of the U.S. Army for the memorial stone which, he said, is a lasting tribute to those who gave their last full measure in support of freedom.
Nikkila also mentioned the continuing partnership between the nearby Army post, founded in 1917, and the school, which opened in 1954 with a replacement building having been completed in 2010.
Also making presentations were Lt. Timothy Mullen, Commander of the Bel Air Barrack, Maryland State Police; Joseph Schmitz, former EHS teacher, assistant principal and principal and now Harford County Public schools executive director of middle/ high school performance and instruction; Capt. John Krass, representing Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler; Russell Eyre, President of the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association; and Robert Glassman, Chief of the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company.
John Bowman, EHS Class of 1961 and a 2013 inductee into the school's Hall of Fame, served as chair of the Memorial Stone project and was emcee for the dedication ceremony.