“Never was so much owed by so many to so few”. –Winston Churchill
Charles Aulin, Sr.
Submitted by Christi Ginn, RISD Communications: My maternal grandfather passed away when my mother was very young, so I unfortunately do not know much about him. He proudly served his country in the Navy and Army, served during World War II. He passed away in 1964 at the age of 37, leaving a legacy of four children, 11 grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.
Ivan “Jelly” Pechacek
Submitted by Christi Ginn, RISD Communications: My paternal grandfather Ivan “Jelly” Pechacek was a lifelong resident of the Elk Community (near Waco). He proudly served his country in the Army during World War II, in the 36th Division. He served in Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg, and Czechoslovakia. His favorite place was Czechoslovakia, since our family is Czech. He was in the maintenance section in the army, and helped prepare the vehicles for D-Day.
My favorite WWII story about him was about a bombed out church in Belgium he took shelter in during the war. He found a cross in the rubble and put it in his bag before he moved on. That cross ultimately made it back to the US. Fifty-five years later (1998), grandpa sent it back to St. Vith’s cathedral via the niece of a family friend who was visiting her aunt in the USA. The niece drove the 100 miles to return it to the church, which had been rebuilt after the war. He received a thank you letter from Father Jean Pohlen, who was the priest at St. Vith's at that time.
Grandpa met my grandmother after his return from Europe. They met on a blind date and he married my grandmother, Lil Pomykal, on January 10, 1949. He worked for the Waco Veterans Hospital as a foreman in the machine shop, where he taught welding skills to G.I.s. He retired in 1985 and pursued his real passions: farming and ranching and spending time with his family and many friends.
Jelly was a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Elk, the Church Building Fund Committee, McLennan County Farm Bureau, V.F.W. Mart Chapter, and the Axtell School Board. He never met a person whom he didn't like and he always had a smile on his face. Jelly and Lil were parents to three sons and one daughter, grandparents of five, great-grandparents of 10, and great-great-grandparents to one. His many grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his greatest joy. At the time of his death in August 2009, he had been married to Lil for 60 years, and he was joined by his bride in March 2020 (just days before COVID-19 turned our world upside down). The world is a better place because of him, and he is greatly missed.
Thank you to both of my grandfathers and to all veterans for their service to their country. We owe you a debt that can never be repaid.
Mr. Moss Elkins, Navy Veteran
Submitted by Isabel Elkins
Submitted by Stephanie Hein: Nickolas Ritch, Stephanie Hein’s brother, served as a Specialist First Class in the US Army. He graduated in 2012 from Fort Benning in Georgia then was deployed to Afghanistan for some time. He then spent the remainder of his time where he was stationed in Fort Knox, KY in the 1st Infantry division.
Phillip J. Burch
Submitted by Stephanie Hein: Philip J. Burch, Stephanie Hein’s grandpa, served in both the Air Force and US Coast Guard. He was in the Vietnam war and served 20 years for our country. After he retired from the coast guard he then finished his working career with Continental Airlines in Houston where he also eventually retired from.
Roy L. Allen Jr.
Roy L. Allen, Jr.
Submitted by Lois Stovall: Roy L. Allen, Jr. served in the United States Army. 21 years of service(active) and now retired. He has defended our country in several wars spanning his military life, including Kuwait and Afghanistan. He is an amazing husband, father, and real-life cowboy. We are very fortunate and happy to call him ours. We love this guy and he’s always thankful and smiling.
Submitted by Kimberly Clendennan:
When I asked Hollis Ulbricht (11th grade at that time) what he wanted to do after high school his response was: "Well I have a good job". I told him that you could walk into work one day and it could be gone (like I did at BAE Systems). He asked me what he should do. I gave him the same speech my Dad gave me and said "You're getting the same 2 choices I got...College or the military". He thought about it and decided Blinn was his best choice. Senior year rolled around and I revisited the life-after-high-school discussion. He pulled a 180° on me and said "I just remembered that I don't like school so much". (Those of you who know him know that's a typical Hollis response.) I was a little stunned, but without missing a beat I said: "Okay. Which branch?" His response was: "No matter which branch I choose, I'll end up pissing off one parent." I looked into his eyes and could tell he was trying to suppress a smirk and said: "You chose the Navy, didn't you?" He just grinned.
You see, his Dad and Grandpa are both US Navy Veterans and both my Dad (deceased) and I were/are US Air Force Veterans. This makes Hollis 3rd generation military. Luck followed him when duty station assignments were being handed out. In the 18 months since he was home, he's seen over a dozen countries. Just last week he got to see the Aurora Borealis. Even I'm jealous! (But I won't tell him that).
Hollis H. Ulbricht, Hollish A. Ulbricht, Hollis (Andy) Ulbricht
Submitted by Tammy Diezi
- Hollis H. Ulbricht - 1964
- Hollis A. Ulbricht- 1994
- Hollis (Andy) Ulbricht - 2018 (Falcon c/o 2018)
James Charles Abanathy (JC)
Submitted by Portia Abernathy: My vet, my ❤️. This is my son James Charles Abanathy (JC) he is a graduate of Royal High School. In 2014 after graduating he enlisted in the United States Army. He has served in Afghanistan, Germany, Poland, Austria, Romania, Syria, and just a week ago he deployed to the Country of Georgia located in Eur-Asia. Thanks son for your service!!! ❤️
Submitted by Portia Abanathy (Portia’s father)
Submitted by Portia Abanathy: Portia’s niece Kierra serves in the US Navy.
Hai Tran and Miles Tran
Submitted by Mara Tran: My husband served in the US Navy and my son, Miles, is in the US Coast Guard now!
I served in the US Army as an Infantryman for 6 years. During my time overseas I spent time in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, Germany, and Latvia.
I served in the Army from 1985 - 1990, Military Intelligence, Voice Intercept. This is a picture in my "boot camp" days.
Nelson Guillotte is the great grandfather of Jacob Paben. He served during the Korean War. He passed away 6 weeks ago at age 88 due to a blood clot in the lungs.
Bonnie Sanchez, mother of STEM academy student Bradon and ECC student Beylea, served in the US Army right after graduating from Royal High School in 2006! She was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and with the 808 engineer battalion in Houston.
Submitted by Carrie Coke: Kamarion Blackshear, my second cousin on his mother’s side of the family!
Submitted by Carrie Coke (Jesilyn’s aunt)
Submitted by Carrie Coke (Mr. Duling’s great granddaughter)
Submitted by Carrie Coke: Mr. Garza is the great-grandfather of Royal student Ocean Liberty.
Submitted by Carrie Coke: (Carrie’s grandfather)
Brandi McCullough, mother of Brysen Williams 1st Grade and Nyla McCullough PreK. I joined the United States Navy in 2015 as a CTR (Cryptological Technician) Stationed in Pensacola FL for 2 years and went Reservist. Hooyah Navy. I am also a Royal graduate, Falcon class of 2014.
Submitted by LaRay Odum: Royal graduate Ethan Odum served six years’ active duty in the Air Force and has been in the Air Guard for the past two years.
Submitted by LaRay Odum: Mr. McKay is a US veteran. He currently serves as a volunteer UIL math team coach (calculator applications, mathematics, and number sense) at Royal High School.
Airman John Strange
Submitted by Jason Woods about his stepfather, Airman John Strange:
Enlisted USAF 1/20/1960
Retired 6/1/1980 as E-7 Master Sargeant
Began as an aircraft mechanic, advancing to Superintendent of Aircraft Maintenance
A member of the flight crew that supported the Apollo 13 mission and were the first group to have visual confirmation of Apollo 13's successful re-entry.
Served 3 years in Vietnam (1 year on the ground performing flight-line maintenance, 2 years in the air on B52's which flew bombing missions out of Guam to Vietnam).
For the final 4 years of his service, he was a Courier for Classified, Secret, and Top-Secret Materials for all branches of the military
Over 20 years of service, his travels took him to most states across the U.S. as well as to many countries of the world.
Martin Pike II
Submitted by Jillian Pike: Grandfather to Jillian Pike, great grandfather to Jaylyn and Remy Danz.
Submitted by Jillian Pike: Grandfather to Jillian Pike, great grandfather to Jaylyn and Remy Danz.
Submitted by Kolbe Porter: I would like to recognize my dad Dan Porter and say thank you to him for serving our country and continuing to serve our community.
Submitted by Grayson McDonald: Lucas McDonald is the father of Averie McDonald who is currently in Pre-K. He served for 7 years in the Army as an Artilleryman, doing 2 tours in Afghanistan. He then joined the Army Reserves, and is currently stationed in Wisconsin on Active Duty orders. He also has 3 more beautiful daughters.
Thomas Mendez, OMS
United States Army Fire Support Specialist
Earl Perrow, Jr.
Submitted by Sherlynn Perrow: US Army Sergeant, served in the Vietnam War. Father of Sherlynn Perrow, Royal Jr. High Counselor.
Lt Col Chris Hansen, USAF
Attended Royal Primary, intermediate and Junior High in the 80’s. Flew for 20 years in the Air Force in the E-3 AWACS with deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, Ecuador and Ethiopia. Kary Hansen is the STEM 6-8 Math teacher. Son Clayton is in 8th grade at STEM.
Submitted by RHS sophomore Demond Jones: Demond’s cousin Joshawn Coleman is currently serving his 10th year in the Navy. Being in the Navy has provided him the opportunity to live and travel all over the world. He is currently stationed in Mississippi with his wife Tamika and their two children. Our family is very proud of his sacrifice, bravery, service and commitment to our country.
Jose Antonio Salazar
Submitted by Janeth Villegas: RISD student Jaycob Villegas’ uncle Tony.
Recipient of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
Submitted by Euyssa Alexander: US Army veteran, stepfather to STEM 2nd grader Khloe Alexander.
Submitted by Amy & Claudio Vallejo: LaCount Green joined the US Navy in 1983 as a Cryptologic Technician on the aircraft carrier USS Lexington and was medically retired in 1989. He was very proud to serve our Country and continued his service as a Police Officer in Virginia and Texas. Unfortunately, LaCount Green recently passed away in 6/13/2018.
My name is Aubrey Stanley. I am married and we have two children, Cody Stanley age 13 and Andrina Weber age 9. I was in the Navy from April of 1999 until April of 2001. I was stationed aboard a Submarine Tender named the USS Emory S. Land in Malmadelena Italy. It's a beautiful island off the coast of Sardinia, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
What's a Submarine tender? Well, It's a repair ship. They were originally made to fix all submarines, but later modified to repair all the Navy ships stationed anywhere in the Mediterranean Sea. My job on that ship was a fireman. I worked very hard to keep everyone who lived on that ship safe. That's about 1,500 sailors.
Now fire is the most dangerous thing that can happen aboard a ship. Why is it so dangerous? Well its simple, there isn't any where to run to safety. If we can't put it out as fast as possible people get hurt or worse. When I wasn't fighting fires, which didn't happen very often, thank goodness, I was inspecting the ship and repairing any fire hazards, on electrical wiring, the engine, the fire safety equipment, that kind of thing. We were also the fire department for the whole island because they did have a fire department of their own.
In the late winter of 2001, March, our boiler room exploded in the middle of the Mediterranean. We tried for many hours to contain it without success. So my Captain ordered us to get out as quickly as possible and lock the hatch. They then turned on the halogen system which sucks all the oxygen out of the room, thus putting out the fire. It took us 2 weeks to clean up and repair that boiler room. Could you image it? We couldn't go anywhere that whole time, because we needed the steam from the boiler to run the steam engine, which powered the ship.
Unfortunately, I was injured in that fire. 🔥 It claimed 9 of my fellow sailor's lives. They were all fireman just like me. I was only 22 years old. I then returned back to the United States and released from service due to my injuries.
Faith Zwahr (7th grade) has an uncle who is a veteran. David Kaye had just finished his freshman year at Baylor University when he signed up for the Army Reserves. He was called up in May 2005 and served a year in Afghanistan. He is now employed by Baylor University as Assistant Director of Media Relations. He also donated a kidney to his best friend in June 2020.
Submitted by Jhoana Martinez