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Soldier honored at Rogers High School

Medal of Honor recipient and 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) veteran recognized for heroism

Medal of Honor recipient Ronald Shurer stands with his wife, two children and Rogers High School JROTC teaching staff. Photo credit: Rogers High School

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Rogers High School in Puyallup unveiled a monument last Friday afternoon honoring Medal of Honor recipient SSgt. Ronald Shurer.

Escorted by the school's Battalion Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Cmdr. Duane O'Brien and Command Sgt. Maj. Erica Gonzales, the 1997 graduate of the school and his family spent the day talking with students.

"The day at Rogers might have been the most significant in the history of the school," said retired CW3 Michael Meray, the school's JROTC senior Army instructor.

"We always address the student body and faculty as ‘Ramily'... and the students welcomed and honored this RAM as he came home."

The school's mascot is a ram.

Retired Staff Sgt. Shurer received the nation's highest military honor from President Trump in October 2018.

He earned the decoration for heroism in 2008 on a hillside in Afghanistan when he saved the lives of five severely wounded soldiers and successfully evacuated them and others to safety at great risk to his life while under fire.

"With all the training in me and the military, the work and preparation we put into missions, it's definitely just something that's engrained," the former Special Forces soldier said.

During the ceremony in the high school's Performing Arts Center, Meray reported that Shurer repeatedly said that he was "not a hero" and that "he did what he did ... for the love of his brothers in arms."

"He had asked God to give him strength to support his team members for as long as he could," concluded Meray, "because he did not expect to make it out alive that day."

The monument honoring Shurer is in front of Rogers High School. It was made by Edgewood Monuments of Puyallup.

The fundraising campaign for Shurer's monument originally began with the Puyallup Valley VFW Post 2224's drive to place a monument at Puyallup High School honoring Lt. Victor Kandle, a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor, for his valor during World War II.

"Many of us in the Puyallup VFW Post 2224 thought it appropriate to honor Kandle ... Then as we kicked off the Kandle campaign, the President awarded the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Shurer," explained Jack Taylor of the post.

"So we figured, why not try to do the same thing for Shurer at his alma mater."

According to Taylor, Shurer's monument cost $5,776, and he thanked the South Hill Puyallup Rotary Club, Veterans United Home Loans, and donations from veterans and community members for their financial support.

Puyallup School District officials, Rogers High School staff, and students of the Army's JROTC program at the high school embraced and supported the plan.

"It is a distinctive privilege for a community to recognize and honor a Medal of Honor recipient," concluded Taylor.

"What Staff Sergeant Shurer did to earn this honor stands as a wonderful example of what our members of the Armed Forces may come to do when called upon to serve our country. Saving your comrades' lives has no equal in performing one's duties."

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