Norfolk Academy held a rousing celebration of all its military service members and veterans, paying tribute through a number of special events during the 4th annual Military Appreciation Night.
The night is a way for the Norfolk Academy Military Appreciation Club (NAMAC) to highlight and thank current and former service members. Earlier in the week members of the club personally presented t-shirts and thank you notes to the many veterans who are on the faculty and staff at Academy.
On a sunny Friday evening, September 24, the celebration began just before the varsity football game against St. Christopher's, with students involved in the Upper School Military Appreciation Club inviting all current and former service members onto the field at Wynne-Darden Stadium to present the American flag. The flag was about 20 yards long, and dozens of service members joined in as it was extended near midfield.
Next, Ann Gray Golpira '24 gave a rousing rendition of the National Anthem. Ann Gray is an accomplished musician who has already released her own musical EP.
After the flag was secured, three Academy faculty members who served multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan came to midfield for the opening coin toss. Middle School Math Teacher Nick Rahall, head coach for the Bulldogs' JV Football team, attended the United States Naval Academy and is a former Marine Corps Captain. Upper School Math Teacher Chris Watson '93, an assistant for JV Football, is a retired Marine Corps Lt. Colonel. Upper School History Teacher Bernie McMahon, head track and field coach, is a retired Navy Special Warfare Officer, or Navy SEAL.
Coach Rahall deployed to Afghanistan twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Lt. Col. Watson served two tours in Iraq. Commander, Retired, McMahon served multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
At halftime, the faculty and staff who served our nation were honored, along with varsity football and cheerleading family members who are serving or who have served in our country’s military. As the Armed Forces Medley played over the loudspeakers, the large crowd gave its appreciation with applause.
Seniors Canby Traywick, Ben Roberts, John Bunn are NAMAC Co-Presidents this school year.
Here are almost two dozen service members or veterans who are faculty or staff at Norfolk Academy:
- Mr. Witt Borum, Navy
- Mr. George Bunn, Navy
- Mr. Neil Duffy, Navy
- Mr. Rob Fleenor, Arir Force
- Commander Martha Gentry, Navy (Retired)
- Master Chief Sandria Hughes, Navy (Retired)
- LCDR Jeff Martin '87, Navy (Retired)
- Mr. Larry McCarthy, Army
- Commander (SEAL) Bernie McMahon, Navy (Retired)
- Mr. Glenn Miller, Navy
- LCDR Bob Needham, Navy (Retired)
- Mr. Roy Newton, Navy
- Mr. Christopher Pandola, Marine Corps
- Mr. Nick Rahall, Marine Corps
- Mr. Joe Robinson, Army
- Mrs. Virginia Scofield '03, Coast Guard
- Mr. Shannon Walden, Navy
- Lt. Col. Chris Watson '93, Marine Corps (Retired)
- Mrs. Kim Yager, Navy
- Mr. Earl Ware, Army
And football/cheerleading family members:
- Gunnery Sgt. Jake Elliott, Marine Corps
- Capt. Peter Flannery, Navy (Retired)
- Commander Rich Essenmacher, Navy (Retired)
- Commander Ray Fitzgerald, Navy (Retired)
- Mr. Hensley Griffith, Navy (Retired)
- Lt. Col. James Kincaid, Army (Retired). Lt. Col. Kincaid is deceased so Mrs. Mary Ann Kincaid was in attendance.
- Lt. Seth Larson, Navy (Retired)
- Ms. Cynthia Moss, Navy
- Mr. Brian Moss, Sr., Navy
- Mr. Jay Traywick, Marine Corps
- Dr. Sean Tyszko, Navy
- Capt. Thomas Violette, Navy (Retired)
- Commander Michael Violette, Navy (Retired)
- Sgt Dave Wallace, Army (Retired)
- Lt. Col. JJ Wilson, Marine Corps
Thank you to all who have served our country!