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Tucson High’s Honor Walkway is open to all veteran students

If you went to Tucson High School and served in the military, you might have your name in bricks.

The Tucson High Badger Foundation wants to expand its Honor Walkway to include engraved bricks for veterans from across the 117-year school’s history, including the past 99 years at its current location at Sixth Street and Euclid Avenue .

“The goal is to get as many veterans as possible,” said Badger Foundation board chairman Jerry Strutz.

The foundation began honoring Tucson High veterans in 2019 with a display of engraved bricks for each of the 143 alumni killed during World War II, including at least three members of the school’s 1940 football team.

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The groundbreaking ceremony for the exhibit outside the gymnasium at Tucson High Magnet School finally took place in October 2021 after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spots of sunlight hit etched bricks outside the gymnasium at Tucson High Magnet School on June 13. The Tucson High Badger Foundation is expanding its efforts to honor former students for their military service. After successfully honoring World War II servicemen with engraved bricks, the foundation hopes to do the same for all other Tucson High graduates or attendees who have served in the military over the past 65 years.

Mamta Popat, Arizona Daily Star

Judy Ann Mares Redmond graduated in 1974 and now chairs the foundation’s Veterans Recognition Committee. She said the idea to “expand the brick footprint” of the Walkway of Honor was inspired by her father, Arnulfo Mares, who served in the Korean War and died last year at age 92 years old.

Each brick costs $150, with proceeds going to the foundation’s endowment fund.

Anyone, living or dead, who attended school and served in the armed forces is eligible for the Walkway of Honor. You don’t need to have graduated from school and you don’t need to have served in the military during wartime.

“You just have to be a Tucson High vet,” said Strutz, who is only a badger to attend the University of Wisconsin but is married to Tucson High graduate Margie Navarro Strutz of the Class of 1964.

Jerry Strutz, president of the Tucson High Badger Foundation, talks about a plaque that was found that bears the names of three former students who were killed in action during World War II, located outside the gymnasium at the Tucson High Magnet School on June 13. The Tucson High Badger Foundation is expanding its efforts to honor former students for their military service.

Mamta Popat, Arizona Daily Star

All bricks are engraved by Proios Sandblasting & Engraving, a long-time Tucson company.

Thanks to “a few generous donors,” Strutz said, the foundation has some money to subsidize the cost of a brick for families who might need help.

The foundation also oversees a second section of Badger Bricks engraved with the names of other Tucson High graduates and supporters who are not necessarily veterans.

The bricks are a major source of income for the group, which was formed in 1982 and established the endowment fund in 2008.

Strutz said they used to give out three college scholarships to Tucson High graduates every two years or so, but the group now presents five or six scholarships totaling about $40,000 each year.

The endowment also provides grants to the school and its teachers for special projects or basic operations and assistance to individual students who need help paying the costs of school activities.


Mamta Popat, Arizona Daily Star

The foundation hopes to dedicate the next set of bricks to veterans in a ceremony on or around Veterans Day in 2024.

According to Strutz’s estimates, there could be a thousand or more alumni who qualify for the Walkway of Honor. Depending on the number of bricks sold, the foundation may need to remove some more concrete in front of the gymnasium to accommodate the growing tribute.

“We are prepared for this,” he said.

“The more the merrier,” added Redmond.

Applications for the Walkway of Honor and the general Badger Bricks program are available at www.BadgerFoundation.org.

For more information, contact Strutz at jstrutz1@cox.net, Redmond at badgerfoundation.vatribute@gmail.com, Chris (Tellez) McNair at ths66@cox.net or Rick Villegas at rickvillegas1950@comcast.net.

Contact journalist Henry Brean at hbrean@tucson.com or 573-4283. On Twitter: @RefriedBrean


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