TOMS RIVER – High School East dedicated the school’s new Military Support Wall on Veterans Day. Fallen U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Denis C. Miranda was also honored with a memorial ceremony.
Miranda, a 2003 East graduate and swim-team member, enlisted shortly after graduation and became a Navy SEAL in 2007. He and eight other service members were killed in Afghanistan in 2010 when their Blackhawk helicopter crashed while trying to land.
Miranda was honored by the township with a memorial highway, The Denis C. Miranda, USN, Memorial Highway, located on Bay Avenue near the corner of Fischer Boulevard.
But the high school wanted to do something too.
The Military Support Wall is made of two display cases located in the school lobby by the cafeteria. One case is dedicated to Miranda’s memory; the other case displays active duty East graduates.
The newly created Military Support Club planned the ceremony, as well as created the displays that were unveiled Veterans Day.
“The school spirit at High School East is strong and Denis Miranda was a part of our Raider family,” Scott Kenny, HSE safety officer and co-advisor of the Military Support Club, said. “Many teachers and staff members remember Denis and were very emotional during the creation of this project and during the ceremony.”
HSE educator and Navy captain Phillip Beachy serves as a co-advisor of the Club and led the students in the ceremony. Also participating were U.S. Army PFC Joseph Gamboa and U.S. Army PFC Steven Cruz. U.S. Army Captain and teacher Rob Roma attended the ceremony.
The high school chorus performed to guests, which included current students, administrators, teachers, and members of Miranda’s family.
“Today, we honor those who put themselves before others, those who stand up for their beliefs, and those who make sacrifices by serving their country,” principal Pat Thomas said.
HSE alumni who would like to be added to the display and club website can fill out a form at bit.ly/2hGkw8k.