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Nomination deadline looming in Hampton Heroes program

| Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Brandon Rumbaugh
Brandon Rumbaugh
Brandon Rumbaugh in 2014 with the late Albert Zimmerman, a 2006 Hampton Heroes inductee.
Brandon Rumbaugh in 2014 with the late Albert Zimmerman, a 2006 Hampton Heroes inductee.

The deadline for nominations to recognize and honor a veteran through the Hampton Township School District's Hampton Heroes program is Oct. 9.

A veteran can be nominated by someone or themselves by meeting at least one of the following criteria: they must work in Hampton Township, be a current or former resident of Hampton, be an alumni of the district, or be the relative of a district student.

Veterans can be recognized posthumously, according to the district website. A form is found on the school district website or can be obtained at any of the school buildings main offices.

All nominated will be recognized at a Nov. 13 ceremony at the Hampton Middle School.

George Graf Jr., who graduated from Hampton in 1967, was inducted in 2016. He was on active duty for the U.S. Army from 1971 to 1975 and was an Army civilian, spending 18 years overseas in Germany. But he was more intent on honoring his late father George Sr., who he also nominated. The elder Graf was a World War II veteran.

Graf, 68, encourages other veterans to submit their own nomination or for others to nominate a family member. Aside from digging around for a few service dates, he said the nomination process wasn't at all complicated and was worth the while.

“It was a fantastic event. It was nice to be on stage and talking to other nominees and sharing all of our experiences,” he said.

Adele Wampler, inducted in 2011, who served in the Air Force, was nominated by her mother. A 1984 HTSD graduate, she comes from a family of veterans, including her grandfather who was in the Navy, her uncle and her father who were both in the Air Force.

Her son, Sean P. Smith, a 2008 district graduate, is also a member of the Air Force and was inducted in the heroes program for his service. Wampler, 51, thinks it's important to recognize those who serve.

“We all should be thanked: veterans, their families and friends. If it wasn't for the family members at home giving them hope and support or the military wife holding the home front strong, the veteran would not be able to survive. Coming from a family of military, I have always looked up to them and wanted to follow in their footsteps to be able to give back with pride to my country,” said Wampler, who lives in Butler.

Since the event began in 2001, more than 200 veterans have been inducted.

This year's speaker is Brandon Rumbaugh, of the It's All About the Warrior Foundation, a nonprofit that helps veterans, according to Marlynn Lux, middle school principal.

At 27, Rumbaugh retired from military service as a corporal in September 2012 after serving five years on active duty with the Marines as a mortar gunner during his first deployment to Iraq, according to a biography on the foundation website.

During his deployment, Rumbaugh was the squad leader and suffered multiple injuries from IEDs over a three-month period. When one of his fellow Marines stepped on an IED, Rumbaugh headed to help and on the way stepped on a secondary IED, causing him to lose both of his legs.

Rumbaugh, who lives in Uniontown, has spoken all over the country while representing the warrior foundation.

Each inductee receives a spiral-bound booklet with mini-biographies of the nominees. Also, a special website dedicated to the event can be accessed via the district website. If a nominee can't make it to the event, they will still be mentioned and will be sent the commemoration.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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