Ready to serve

Ready to serve

From left, David St. Aubin, GHS principal, Josh Verpooten, Cameron Hills, Tanner Sanford, John Seelbinder, Hunter Holton, Blake Keefer and Dan Wood. Not pictured Noah Jewell and Ryan Vermette. On Wednesday nine GHS seniors were recognized for their recent enlistment into the armed services. Photo by Patrick McAbee.

By David Fleet


Goodrich-On Wednesday afternoon nine high school seniors were recognized in the first ever GHS military signing day.

“Today we recognize these young men who will join numerous members of the Goodrich Alumni family who are currently serving and also our staff veterans including David St. Aubin, Joe Warden, Chris Zoltak and Rodger Conn who all served in the military,” said Dave Davis, athletic director. “To have nine inductees for a school our size is extraordinary.”

David St. Aubin, who will retire after 12 years as high school principal and served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, addressed the students in an assembly at the Goodrich Raymond C. Green Center for the Performing Arts.

“I’d like to talk to you about serving your country and why it’s so honorable to do so,” said St. Aubin. “There are many of you who think that joining the service organization is kind of the last resort, or even for those who cannot go to college or can’t handle it. That can’t be any further from the truth. I can speak from experience that I have served with some of the most educated, intelligent, brilliant people in the armed services. We volunteer to do this, just like these young men have volunteered.”

“I’m proud of these young men,” he said. “Its a commitment to their country, it’s a commitment to you. You are going to be serving the greatest country in the world. I know these young men will make us proud. Congratulations for what you have done.”

Enlisting from the 2017 high school senior class are:

Cameron Hills, 19, enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and will report to United States Coast Guard Training Center, Cape May, N.J.

“I did not want to go to college,” said Hills. “The Coast Guard had the career I wanted to serve as a helicopter mechanic.”

“My father is an airplane pilot and we sometimes fly together. My uncle, Adam Hills, served in the Air Force as an airplane mechanic. After he was discharged he served as a Rochester police officer and was killed on duty in 1994. This is my way to honor him.”

Cameron is the son of Pauline Hafer and Graham Hills.


Hunter Holton, 18, enlisted in the U.S. Navy and will report July 27 to Naval Station, Great Lakes, Ill.

“I joined the Navy because I could not think of a better way to protect friends and family,” he said. “For me the Navy provided the best opportunities for my future. I just always wanted to join the Navy.”

Holton signed on as a master-at-arms, responsible for law enforcement, regulating duties, security and force protection.

“My great-great-grandfather served in World War II,” he said. “It’s a wake-up call to my future and an opportunity to see the world. I’m not afraid, just really excited. When I get out I’d like to be a police officer.”

Hunter is the son of Dusty Bedini and James Holton.


Noah Jewell, 18, enlisted in the U.S. Marines and will report June 26 to Parris Island, S.C.

“I want to start my life off on the right foot and join the armed forces,” said Jewell. “About a year ago I chose the Marines. Also, my father was in the Army and he helped me make that decision.”

“I want to be the first in and the last out in defense of my country,” he said. “My sister, Hannah, is a Marine and will graduate basic training this summer. She is a combat engineer and will work demolition. I just don’t want to sit behind a desk—I want to make a difference.”

Noah is the son of Jim and Wanda Jewell.


Blake Keefer, 17, enlisted in the U.S. Navy and will report Sept. 26 to Naval Station, Great Lakes, Ill.

“I joined for the adventure and to pay for college,” he said. “I’m going for electrical engineering. There are so many benefits in the Navy—it’s a great career.”

Keefer was a member of the Goodrich Robotics team, which added to his interest in engineering.

“My grandfather served in the Army,” he said. “I also selected the Navy because my mother did not want me on the front line in combat.”

Blake is the son of Rochele Reese and Jeremy Keefer.


Tanner Sanford, 18, enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and will report Sept. 15 to United States Coast Guard Training Center, Cape May, N.J.

“My father served in the Army and really enjoyed it,” he said. “The Coast Guard has some great job opportunities for me—for some lifelong skills. I can also stay in the United States, maybe Alaska. Right now I’m undecided what I’ll study or direction I’ll go— maybe Homeland Security or maritime security response team. I’ll serve my enlistment and seek a career in criminal justice after my discharge.”

Tanner is the son of Lori and Trevor Sanford.


John Seelbinder, 18, enlisted in the U.S.Navy and will report Oct. 5 to Naval Station, Great Lakes, Ill.

“I just did not see myself as college material,” he said. “I would like to travel the world and work in construction for the Navy as one of the United States Naval Construction Battalions, or Seabees. That’s what my family does now. My older brother Hunter was also in the Navy for many years and he loved it.”

“I’m a little nervous,” he said. “I’ve been working out in order to get ready for boot camp.”

John is the son of John and Nancy Seelbinder.


Ryan Vermette, 17, enlisted in the U.S. Navy and will report Aug. 16 to Naval Station, Great Lakes, Ill.

“I spoke with a representative of every branch of the military before I decided,” he said. “The Navy had the best career offer for me.”

Vermette signed on as a master-at-arms, responsible for law enforcement, regulating duties, security and force protection.

“I’d like to do 20 years in the Navy and retire,” he said. “My grandfather was in the Army and served in Vietnam—he encouraged me to serve. I’ve been working out a lot for boot camp. If there’s a war the Navy would be a great place to be.”

Ryan is the son of Becky and John Sukup.


Josh Verpooten, 18, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and will report Oct. 12 to Parris Island, S.C.

“There’s a lot of benefits with the Marines including education and being part of a bigger team,” he said. “I love the Marine skill set and those would fit me best of all the armed services.”

Verpooten will study to be an electrician and study sports medicine with a future as a personal trainer.

“I’m excited to go to boot camp, it’s a challenge,” he said.

Josh is the son of Tracy Plummer and Chris Verpooten.


Dan Wood, 18, enlisted in the U.S. Navy and will report Aug. 10 to Naval Station, Great Lakes, Ill.

“I want to serve my country,” said Wood. “I looked at the Air Force and Navy to become an air traffic controller. If I’m going to be an air traffic controller, it would be better on an aircraft carrier. I like the challenge to do my job on a ship.”

“My grandfather served in the Korean War, but this is about my goal. I’ll stay enlisted and seek a college degree.”

Dan is the son of Barrie Lynn and Bill Wood.


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