comments

Fallen Marines honored with plaques at high schools

Granite Bay High School and Oakmont High School graduates both killed in Afghanistan
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
-A +A

Two local high school graduates who died in the war in Afghanistan were honored last week with plaques dedicated in their names.

The plaques are from the Fallen Warriors Memorial Organization, which formed to remember former high school students in the area who gave their lives in service of the United States. The group has established more than $25,000 in a scholarship fund to recognize their sacrifice.

“Our goal goes beyond the scholarships. Our goal is to memorialize the fallen,” said Director Adrian Garcia.

Nearly one year after being laid to rest, Marine Pfc. Victor Dew was honored Oct. 19 with the dedication of a plaque in his name at Granite Bay High School.

During a short ceremony, Principal Mike McGuire praised the former student.

“Victor accepted his call to serve his country and that calling put him in harm’s way,” McGuire said. “(Freedom) comes at a price. Victor was ready to pay that price and ultimately he did.”

Dew was killed in action in the Helmand province of Afghanistan on Oct. 13, 2010 at the age of 20. While in high school, he played on the football team for two years. He was a second degree black belt in Zen Budokai Jujitsu. He enlisted in March 2009.

Dew’s mom, Patty Schumacher, encouraged others to be leaders, like her son.

“Victor was what you call a silent leader,” she said. “He was someone who led by this actions, by his beliefs and by his affirmations.”

She waited until only a few months ago to tell her 4-year-old daughter Katie that her older brother had passed away. He also left behind a 13-year-old brother and a fiancée. Katie knows Dew’s in heaven, Schumacher said, but asks when he will come home.

Before Oakmont High School’s football game Friday night, Marine Cpl. Gurpreet Singh, 21, was also honored with a plaque. He graduated in 2007.

Singh, of Antelope, died June 22 from wounds received while conducting combat operations also in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

He was born in India and immigrated with his family to the United States in 2000. He enlisted in November 2007 as a 17-year-old and was on his second tour of duty. Singh is survived by his parents and sister.

Assistant Principal Mark Werlein commented on Singh’s time with the Viking Printing Press, an on-campus business.

“When home on leave, he would take his Viking Printing Press teachers out to lunch and insist on paying,” Werlein said.

John Cordova, of the Fallen Warriors Memorial Organization, presented the plaque.

“The memorial will be placed so that it will be easily viewed by the staff, students and visiting community, reminding the students that Cpl. Singh paid the price with no regrets, reminding your students to never forget Cpl. Singh or those currently serving or those who have served from your school,” Cordova said.

Reporter Justin Lawson contributed to this article. Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.