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Aug 02, 2017

Matthew Valko, USMC Honored by Fair Haven School Community

On June 20, Knollwood School in Fair Haven proudly added a new photo to their Wall of Honor. Matthew (“Matt”) Valko, a 2010 graduate and a member of the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School Class of 2014, has completed his U.S. Marine Corps boot camp training and is headed to the Combat Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The Wall of Honor features graduates who are proudly serving their country in the armed forces. It was commissioned in 2011 by co-chairs Betsy Koch, an eighth grade science teacher at the school, and Joe Perrotto, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Matt Valko’s family, area leaders, and supporters, including Wall of Honor co-chairs Mr. Perrotto and Ms. Koch, Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli, Fair Haven Superintendent of Schools Sean McNeil, Knollwood School Principal Amy Romano, and former Board of Education member Katy Frissora, joined him at the unveiling ceremony.

He was also joined in solidarity by longtime resident and former Fair Haven Police Officer Fred Dispensiere, who joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1968 after graduating from RFH in 1967. Dispensiere volunteered in 1969 for a tour of duty in the Republic of South Vietnam. He spent 13 months with the 7th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division, primarily in the Que Son Valley southwest of DaNang, and based at Landing Zone Baldy (also known as “Hill 63”). After finishing his tour, he completed his active duty at Camp Pendleton, California and received his Honorable Discharge in 1974. He also served as a Color and Honor Guard for the Commandant of the Marine Corps and President Richard Nixon during his tour of duty, an honor given to only a select few servicemen.

Just before the unveiling, Mr. Perrotto told the crowd, “These graduates have made the decision to serve their country, and as long as this display is here, they shall not be forgotten and their sacrifice and service not taken for granted. It is also important to remember that it is not just the graduates who are making sacrifices; the parents, family, and friends of these young men also suffer emotional highs and lows as their loved ones serve their country in a very dangerous world. It is with great pride that the Wall of Honor committee recognizes our newest hero, Matthew Murray Valko. May God bless him and keep him safe! Congratulations and Semper Fi, Matthew!”

The Wall of Honor was made possible with funding from the Knollwood School Student Council and was designed and built by Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds Rick Robbins. Matt Valko’s photo will remain on display for the duration of his service on active duty. Knollwood graduates currently featured on the Wall of Honor are:

  • Christopher Richards, Class of 2000, U.S. Navy
  • Joel Hyduke, Class of 2001, West Point Graduate, U.S. Army
  • Kenneth Ebner, Class of 2005, West Point Graduate, U.S. Army
  • Christopher Hoffer, Class of 2006, U.S. Air Force
  • Brendan Reiss, Class of 2007, U.S. Army
  • Brian Truex, Class of 2008, U.S. Navy
  • Keegan Finn, Class of 2008, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Matthew Murray Valko, Class of 2010, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Anthony Sciametta, Class of 2011, U.S. Army
  • Joseph McGovern, Jr., Class of 2012, U.S. Marine Corps

 

Adjacent to the Wall of Honor is a plaque made possible by the support of American Legion Post 168, which bears the names of Knollwood School graduates who have completed their service, including:

  • Craig Cannon, Class of 1984, U.S. Army
  • Joshua Zager, Class of 1985, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Scott Beattie, Class of 1991, U.S. Army
  • Shaun Foley, Class of 1996, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Matthew Perrotto, Class of 1999, U.S. Army
  • Wayne Coy, Class of 1999, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Will Miller, Class of 2001, U.S. Army
  • Michael Humphreys, Class of 2003, U.S. Army
  • Bobby DeCanio, Class of 2004, U.S. Marine Corps

 

Matt Valko, an Eagle Scout from Troop 125, resides in Fair Haven with his father Dr. Peter Valko, his mother Madelyne, his brother P.J., and his sister Carly.

If you know someone who may be eligible for recognition on the Knollwood School Wall of Honor, please contact Joe Perrotto at joeotto@aol.com. For more about the Wall of Honor display, visit www.facebook.com/groups/WallOfHonorKnollwood.

 

Pictured, left to right: P.J., Madelyne, Matthew (Matt), and Dr. Peter Valko