Happy Valley High will honor school’s alumni war dead with tribute page
Published 10:12 am Friday, May 26, 2023
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Happy Valley High School. According to Mark Banks, a graduate of Happy Valley and former teacher at the school, Happy Valley High was the first four-year high school in the county and was originally named First School. It then was given the name Happy Valley after the Taylor brothers sort of made that name famous.
In observance of the 100-year anniversary, Banks said he is working with the school principal, Paul Blair, to establish a tribute page on the school website to honor and memorialize school alumni who were killed in combat, beginning with World War II.
“There were 11 alumni killed in American wars. The Arnett-McKeehan families had a granite monument placed out front of the school at the flag pole honoring the school’s war dead. But, you have to visit the school and the monument to learn about the Happy Valley men, who gave their lives for this country. A tribute page on the school website will make the names available for all to see,” Banks said.
The school’s war dead include Seaman Shelby Campbell, Seaman Louis H. McKeehan, PVT Tommy E. McKeehan, PVT Joe Pete McKeehan, SSG Larry Jerome Lyons, LCPL Harold W. Wilson, SP4 Gary D. Murray, CPL James David Bowers, SSG Billy J. Ellis, CPT Danny Graybeal, and FIRST CLASS PO Frank E. Verran.
“We want to add photos to the page of the men and bring their stories to life. They paid the cost of freedom with their lives and need to be recognized,” said Banks, who is presently collecting photos and stories for the web page. He is asking families of the fallen soldiers and graduates to help by contributing photos of the men and sharing not only their war stories but memories of their high school days as a means to honor their ultimate sacrifice.
Banks said he hoped to have the tribute pages after the beginning of the next school year.
The photos and stories may be dropped off at the school or by sending them to Banks at: firstname.lastname@example.org