School’s Wall of Honor remembers the fallen

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published June 10, 2017

WARREN — One local high school community is making sure those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country will never be forgotten.

On the evening of June 1, a group of Warren Mott High School students and staff unveiled the school’s Military Wall of Honor during a dedication ceremony. The Wall of Honor pays tribute to past students of Warren Mott, Mott High and Warren High before the schools merged to become Warren Mott who were killed while serving in the various branches of the military. Warren Mott is part of Warren Consolidated Schools.

The idea for such a display came after 2006 Warren Mott graduate Marcus Bawol was killed while serving in the military two years ago. Under the direction of teacher David Oravec, several students worked together to complete the wall, including art students who created the artwork. So far, there are 17 plaques on the wall that include the names of the deceased.

“I appreciate our kids for having the drive for making this happen,” Warren Mott Principal John Dignan said. “Every kid here has a special piece they put together for this wall. It’s a great honor to be here this evening.”

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Bassett, out of TACOM in Warren, served as keynote speaker during the ceremony.

“What I want to tell you is how much I appreciate the city of Warren and what this community brings to our nation and what your sons and daughters bring to our nation,” Bassett said. “There’s nothing we can do to dry the tears of the families of the fallen, but what we can do is keep them in our memory. Thanks so much to Warren Mott High School and what you’ve done to remember your lost soldiers, sailors and marines.

“The world is not getting to be a safer place,” said Bassett, who has been in the military for 29 years. “When I signed up, it was an Army of peace. Sixteen years in Iraq and Afghanistan — that’s not the case for those who sign up now.”

Also in attendance was Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green, who is a 1973 Mott High graduate. His father was a military veteran.

“I was raised by a dedicated World War II veteran,” Green said. “Dad just passed away in January. Today you recognize the sacrifices of the men and women in this community. We acknowledge the grief we endure. What’s important is that these men and women aren’t forgotten. You can’t bring them back. Memory is the key here. It’s the way we endure the loss that is constant. We rely on faith, community, prayer, family and memory to guide us through difficult times.”

After the ceremony, friends and family viewed the wall.

“It brings back an awful lot of memories,” Marsha (Burke) Wilking said when looking at the plaque of husband Sgt. Ronald Francis Sosnoski, who was killed in the summer of 1968 while in Vietnam. Wilking was 22 when she lost her husband of 11 months. The couple had married at St. Anne Catholic Church in Warren.

“The story we have is he was working supplies on base. He was unloading ammunition. It exploded. I was in shock for quite a while,” said Wilking, who eventually applied to nursing school and remarried. She has thought about Sosnoski every day since he died.

Also present to see the plaque were Sosnoski’s older brother, Vern Sosnoski, and his twin brother, Robert Sosnoski.

“I think it’s a really nice tribute,” Vern Sosnoski said. “It’s a way of allowing the students that are here to see they have served protecting our freedom, our Constitution and our rights.”

“They did a fine job on this wall. It looks really good,” said Robert Sosnoski, who initially was in disbelief over his brother’s loss. “At first, you thought it didn’t really happen. At the time, I was thinking he was going to come back.”

Those who attended the ceremony also had the opportunity to view the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter No. 154 traveling memorial, which was set up in the lobby. The memorial is dedicated to the memory of the 2,654 men and women of Michigan who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War.

If you know of a Mott, Warren or Warren Mott high school graduate who died on active duty while serving in the armed forces, contact teacher David Oravec at (586) 574-3250, ext. 13302.

The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter No. 154 Veterans Support Center is located at 18025 15 Mile Road in Clinton Township. The office offers a number of services. For more information, call (586) 776-9810 or visit

The Warren Mott Wall of Honor includes plaques of the following fallen military members:

Pvt. Kamiel Blondeel, U.S. Army, World War I
Pfc. Roy M. Boettcher, Army, World War II
Sgt. Michael Christopher (Brindle) Mattoni, U.S. Marine Corps
SSgt. Marcus Scott Bawol, Marine Corps
Seaman 1c Robert Frederick Dierolf, U.S. Navy Reserve, WWII
Pvt. William Ferdinand Gietzen, Army, WWI
Pfc. Dennis James Gulla, Marine Corps, Vietnam War
Cpl. In Chul Kim, Marine Corps
Pfc. Arnold M. Marchlewicz, Army, Vietnam
Cpl. John A. Meyer, Army, WWI
Cpl. Neil Warrener Reid, Army, WWI
Sgt. Ronald Francis Sosnoski, Army, Vietnam
Sgt. Ormal Dewey Stevens, Marine Corps, WWI
Sgt. Luther A. Stotts, U.S. Army Air Force, WWII
Pfc. Edward W. Thimian, Army, WWI
Sgt. Gary Albert Utriainen, Army
AW2 Christopher Martin Will, U.S. Navy