NORTH LEWISBURG – The Triad Distinguished Alumni Committee has chosen Ralph L. Coleman Jr., the salutatorian of the class of 1963, as the recipient of the 2017 award.
He wrote the alma mater for the school, which was accepted by the student body in 1965.
In 2009, he spent four months in the community transcribing the old burial records for Maple Grove Cemetery and Woodstock Cemetery. He created a digital database of all the records using a commercial grade cemetery software program. He then connected that database to a photographic record of the tombstones and grave markers. He donated the databases and a new computer system to the Rush Township trustees.
In 2014, Coleman completed a trilogy about the area encompassing the Triad community. These works, titled Along Spain Creek, Volumes 1-3, are filled with stories and historical facts about the community. There were two book-signing events held in North Lewisburg and Urbana when the publications were released by Amazon.com. He also created a social media page, “We Lived Along Spain Creek,” where over 450 members post pictures, stories and comments about life in the Triad community.
He had a distinguished career as a soldier in the U.S. Army. He saw duty with the 25th Tropic Lightning Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; 4th Battalion 54th Mechanized Infantry at Ft. Knox, Kentucky; and was later assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey, Republic of South Korea. After his promotion to Staff Sergeant, he served in the 194th Armored Brigade at Ft. Knox and the 2nd ROTC Region. He served a second tour of duty in South Korea and later attended the Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer course at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
After his promotion to Sergeant First Class, he was the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in Colorado, which was a $138 million facility encompassing 244,000 acres of federal land. He served in Panama during Operation Just Cause and was later assigned as an assistant Inspector General at the 10th Mountain Division, Ft. Drum, New York. During his military career, he received the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Good Conduct Medal (5th award), the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Army NCO Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon, as well as the Expert Marksmanship Badge.
Coleman is a member of the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.