Editor, Times-Union:

I want to thank everyone who has contacted me regarding adding the name Harry J. Michael to Warrior Field at Wawasee High School. The outpouring of support to honor our veterans has been outstanding. I do have some people who expressed some concerns that has been based on misinformation. I want to clear up any confusion so that everyone is clear on what we are doing as we move forward on this project.

First of all, there is no interest (nor has there ever been) in getting rid of the name warrior from the existing field. Everything I have learned about Harry in fact makes him the ultimate warrior. Dedication, courage, sacrifice total commitment to the team effort is the essence of the lessons Harry teaches all of us. What a great story to tell our young people as they prepare for competition. Harry was a three-sport athlete at Milford High School and he played football when he went to Purdue. Harry also had two grandnephews who played football for Wawasee on Warrior Field.

I have had a few people say to me that the change is not needed, and we should leave well enough alone. Fear of change is often the result of not knowing the facts, so here are the facts. We have a man who was awarded the highest military medal our country offers. We have Wawasee board policy that allows “commemoration of school facilities” (line item 7250 in school board policy), we have support from American Legions from Syracuse, North Webster and Milford, along with many local people and community leaders. Finally, we have private funding to pay for any signage changes to Warrior Field.

One other comment that was made to me was “well, we don’t name things after people around here.” As a history teacher of 36 years, I would be quick to point out that in fact we do. Wawasee High School is named after a chief of the Miami Indians and Kosciusko County is named after Thaddeus Kosciusko, a Revolutionary War hero who was one of George Washington’s closest advisors. Thaddeus was a Polish prince and Warsaw is, well, you get the point.

Finally, this is a great opportunity for all three communities (Milford, Syracuse and North Webster) to tell the whole world that we in fact “NEVER FORGET” our men and women who serve our country. Warrior Field, Harry J. Michael Veteran Memorial Stadium is a gift we can give our kids and many, many future generations. Once again, I want to thank everyone who has expressed great support for this endeavor.

Dave Baumgartner

Warsaw, via email