Honoring those who sacrificed

LaGrange High alumni, Junior ROTC pay tribute to veterans

LaGrange High School class of 1961 alumni, current school leadership and the Junior ROTC honored its Vietnam War veterans during a ceremony at the school Thursday.

Michael Tritico, class of 1961 alumnus, coordinated the ceremony. He said the idea came to him after his classmate, the late Tommy Sims, revealed he never received a “thank you” upon returning home from the war.

“I said, ‘Tommy, I heard of that happening in California, but not here.’ He said, ‘Yeah, nobody here told me thank you. Nobody anywhere told me thank you.’ I said, ‘Tommy, I’m telling you right here, Thank you,’ ” Tritico recounted.

Darryl Fontenot said he enlisted in the Army, but many in the class were drafted as the war intensified over time.

“Army, Navy, Marines — a lot just went in because of the patriotism,” he said. “It was the patriotic thing to do, and my unit got called up to Vietnam.”

Tritico said those who fought in the war made a huge sacrifice.

“Because they went, a bunch of us didn’t,” he said. “Fortunately, all of our guys came back alive. Lake Charles High lost several of the class of ‘61.”

Fontenot said he was proud to see LaGrange’s Junior ROTC program alive and well.

“In the ROTC program, a young person can learn about the country, government (and) patriotism,” he said. “At the same time, they learn discipline, and that’s very important. Whether or not they make the military a career or not, they start developing skill sets.”

JROTC instructor Ernest Turner, CW04, said veteran sacrifice is a major part of the course’s curriculum.

“I make sure these young people know exactly what your sacrifice means,” he said. “They’re going to represent the future like you represent the past.”

Samuel Baynes, LaGrange principal, guided alumni on a brief tour of the campus. Guests shared memories of the past, including the Sputnik satellite launch, former principal John Mims and championships in basketball, football and track.

“This was a special group, and it kind of set the tone for LaGrange,” Baynes said while pointing to Mims’ portrait.

A plaque recognizing the Vietnam War veterans will hang in the school’s lobby.””

Lagrange principal Samuel Baynes presents the ROTC with a plaque during a ceremony at the school in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman””

Chief Marion Hamilton speaks at Lagrange High School in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman””

At Lagrange High School in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman

Local News

Transfer of Mallard Cove Golf Course to Chennault complete

Local News

Maplewood schools will remain closed Thursday

Local News

Kinder Future Farmers of America collect, deliver fuel to Lafourche Parish

Local Business News

Disaster assistance request for SW La. makes it to budget

Local Business News

Area LyondellBasell plant receives ISCC PLUS certification

Local Business News

When it comes to headwear, Anne Monlezun and Kevin Mattingly have got you covered

Local Business News

Elizabeth Jimney column: Building a website that works for you

Local Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Local Business News

Few things please Chloun more than delighting diners with authentic Middle Eastern cuisine

Local News

Nicholas expected to weaken to a depression overnight

Local News

Nicholas weakening as it moves toward SW La.

Local News

Update: Today’s weather-related closures and cancellations

Local News

Nicholas expected to stall over SW La. Wednesday

Local News

Nicholas upgraded to category 1 hurricane

Local News

Weather-related Tuesday closures, cancellations

Crime

Nine arrested in what authorities describe as ‘gang shooting’

Local News

Calcasieu leadership: Tropical Storm Nicholas should not be taken lightly

Local News

LC city offices closed, trash service canceled Tuesday

Local News

Temporary closure of FEMA’s LC Recovery Service Center

Local News

COVID testing, vaccine sites closed Tuesday-Wednesday

Local News

Allen schools will be virtual Tuesday

Local News

Nicholas could turn into a hurricane before making landfall

Local News

Clearing debris from drainage laterals massive, costly

Local News

All Jeff Davis schools will be open Monday