Man’s community spirit commemorated with JROTC award

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The Walla Walla High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps honored the late Michael Dale “Mike” Dunham by presenting a new award in his name during the 95th annual military ball May 17.

The Michael D. Dunham Distinguished Senior Leadership Award went to Cadet Cmdr. Zach Chlipala and Cadet Exec. Officer Sara Beko. The award recognizes the battalion commander and executive officer for four years of continual, unwavering support of the program and cadets.

In his teens, Mike served with distinction as a cadet colonel and brigade commander with the Wa-Hi JROTC Blue Devil Battalion. As a senior, he escorted Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson during a town visit, and was commended for this duty by Sen. Warren G. Magnuson in a letter.

He was the first Wa-Hi recipient of the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He developed a lifelong love of sports and garnered the Union-Bulletin City Golf Champion Trophy at 17. He graduated in 1962 from Wa-Hi, a member of the National Honor Society.

He started on scholarship as a pitcher at Oregon State University, then transferred to golf. He played in the 1964 NCAA Golf Championships at Colorado Springs and ranked sixth in the nation in the long-drive contest. An avid bowler, he competed for the OSU bowling team, which won the NCAA Team Championship in 1964 at Oakland, Calif. His sports connection continued throughout his life

With wife Joanne and son Eric, he established Dunham Cellars in 1997. Mike supported many causes and charities. He died on May 18, 2013, after a battle with cancer.

At the Wa-Hi military ball, JROTC honored its cadets’ service, skills and promoted cadets. The program at the Elks Lodge featured many military traditions, including a receiving line, Fallen Comrade tribute, posting of the colors and anthem. Parents, friends, and representatives of state and local organizations joined the several hundred cadets and guests.

Commendations presented during the ball: Senior Army Instructor Leadership, Garrett Farrelly, Samantha French, Nick Brown, Sara Beko; JROTC Distinguished Service, Sabrina Keenan, Autumn Lewis, Benjamin Brown, Elizabeth Litts; Distinguished Cadet, Allison Shrouf; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Celebrate Freedom Foundation, McKenna French; U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Michael Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson; Washington Army National Guard, Joshua Lancaster; Reserve Officers Association JROTC Achievement, Allison Juergensen; Non-Commissioned Officers Association, Devin Hudkins; 82d Airborne Division, Kurtis Crump; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution National Defense Committee ROTC Medal, Paige Jones; Sons of the American Revolution, Andrew Jenkins; American Veterans, Kristen Chavre; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lucas Hedine; American Legion Award for Scholastic Excellence, Evan Jameson; American Legion Award for Military Excellence, Abel Garcia; American Legion Award for Marksmanship, Daniel Enger; Military Order of the Purple Heart National Leadership, Nathaniel Osborn; Scottish Rite of Free Masonry, Mattie Bialozor; Senior Army Instructor Commendation, Sara Beko, Justin Filan, Carson Livingston and Kurtis Crump; Superior Cadet, Victoria Van Mierlo, Micah Gordon, Jerome Minster, Zachary Chlipala.

Cadets to serve in leadership this fall: 1st sergeants, Autumn Lewis, Elizabeth Johnson, Meagan Dodd, Mykayla Heird, Michael Shuster, Sabrina Keenan; company commanders, Micah Gordon, Mason Christopher, Alexis Nordman, Evan Jameson, Zachary Cobb, Kennedy Leitch; Battalion staff to captain, Nicholas Brown, Michael Reser, Victoria Van Mierlo, Catalina Foust, Toni Leroue, Nathanial Osborn, Nathan Brewer; Battalion staff to major, Benjamin Brown.

The Battalion Command Team will be Cadet Lt. Col. Mattie Bialozor and Cadet Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Jerome Minster.

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