Medal of Honor recipient and 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) veteran, Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Ronald J. Shurer, was commemorated during a Monument dedication at his childhood school, Rogers High School, in Puyallup, Wash. Dec. 6, 2019.
The ceremony was held inside the school's performing arts center. Events included a presentation by the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, a musical performance by the RHS Choir, and speeches by State Senator Hans Zeiger and the Student Body President, Megan Gratzer .
"To have someone of this [caliber] to come back to this school where he graduated twenty years ago is an honor," said Student JROTC Commander Duane O'Brian. "It's an Honor to the JROTC program and the school."
In front of the school stands the recently unveiled stone monument, which depicts Staff Sgt. (Ret) Shurer's face with the words Duty, Honor, and Country eternalizing Shurer for his valor on the battlefield.
On April 6, 2008, while serving as a Senior Medical Sergeant with 3rd Special Forces Group Forces Group (A), Shurer was part of an assault element conducting combat operations in Afghanistan. As his element ascended a mountain toward their objective they were engaged by enemy machine gun, sniper, and rocket-propelled grenade fire. As the attack intensified, Shurer fought his way up the mountainside. While fired upon, he established tactical casualty care. He began moving down the mountain and used his own body to shield wounded Soldiers from enemy gunfire and debris caused by nearby air strikes. After reaching the base of the mountain, Shurer set up a location to treat his wounded comrades until help arrived.
"My thoughts were not about being a hero," said Shurer. "My thoughts were about helping my teammates."
During his speech, he recognized how grateful he was to be walking the halls of his old school.
"To be welcomed back with such open arms, it's been a really cool day," said Shurer. "To be back in the school after 20 years and seeing flashes of things I remember it's been really cool."
Shurer attributed his successes in the Special Forces Medical Qualification Course to the quiet introspective skills he learned at Rogers High School.
At the end of the ceremony Shurer took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony with his family and unveiled the monument that will stand as a reminder to the students of what they can accomplish.
"I think that it's an honor just to know that we are always available for more and that there's always more for us in our lives and he can just bring it back and inspire the students of Rogers," said Gratzer.
The event was organized by the Rogers High Army JROTC, Rogers High staff, the Puyallup School District, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2224. The funds for the monument were raised by Post 2224 from generous donations contributed by Veterans, local citizens and service organizations.