Local News

Friday, Nov 09 2012 05:35 PM

Garces honors fallen alumni

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Garces Memorial High School alumni Judge Gary Friedman, left, and President of the Alumni Board Tom Franconi hold the plaque after the ceremony they presented Friday honoring Garces alumni who died while in service to their country. The four veterans listed on the plaque are Denis Roche, Thomas Soliz, John Perich and David Reis.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    The statue of Padre Francisco Garces (known as Father Garces) stands alone on a cloudy afternoon at Garces Memorial High school. The Spanish Franciscan was known to have visited this spot where the statue is on May 8, 1776.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

In honor of Veterans Day, Garces Memorial High School on Friday unveiled a plaque bearing the names of four alumni who had been killed while serving in the armed forces.

Tom and Patti Reis were among those who attended a lunch-hour ceremony at which the plaque was presented to school administrators. The name of their son David was on the plaque.

The 25-year-old Navy fighter pilot and 2004 Garces High School graduate was killed along with his sister and two others in a tragic New Years Eve murder-suicide in the San Diego area. Authorities said David Reis' roommate was the shooter.

The other alumni named on the plaque were:

* Denis Roche

Class of 1954

Lt -Navy

* John Perich

Class of 1965

Private First Class - Marines

* Thomas Soliz

Class of 1965

Corporal - Marines

Tom Reis said it was "neat" that the school had recognized his son "and the other, I'll just call them kids, who perished."

It will be nice, Reis said, to see his son's name whenever he visits the campus.

About 50 veterans attended the ceremony in which Kern County Superior Court Judge Gary Friedman presented the plaque.

The private Catholic school had invited all veterans who were alumni or family members of Garces students.

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