An effort by former School Board member Eric DeKenipp to name Loudoun County’s Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps facility after U.S. Army Cpt. James F. Adamouski, the first West Point graduate to die in battle in Iraq, took a step back last week.
The School Board was set to vote Nov. 13 on whether to name the program, housed at Loudoun County High School, after Adamouski for a period of 10 years, but the majority of board members presented opted to refer the matter to the Finance and Facilities Committee.
“The School Board has a process in place to name facilities and by sending this to the Finance and Facilities Committee we’re following the process outlined in our policies,” said Vice Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling), who sits on that committee.
Before he resigned his seat on the board last month, DeKenipp (Catoctin) was the most vocal proponent of naming the facility after Adamouski. He introduced the recommendation to the full board at the Oct. 23 meeting instead of bringing it before the Finance and Facilities Committee, which he chaired at the time.
Speaking to the board at last week’s meeting, DeKenipp said Adamouski, known as Jimmy, attended high school in Springfield and went on to be a star soccer player at West Point. He was killed in action on April 2, 2003, at 29 years old. He was killed along with five other soldiers when the Black Hawk helicopter he was piloting crashed.
“The renaming of the ROTC building would be the best way to not only keep Jimmy’s legacy alive but to use Jimmy’s sacrifice as a source of inspiration for our students,” DeKenipp told the board.
The one point of contention is that Adamouski never lived in Loudoun County—a point a couple board members pointed out during the debate.
Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) said that board members should talk in committee about how to appropriately recognize military veterans who have lost their lives serving their country. “I received a couple of emails from people noting that we have a couple of fallen soldiers who were actually LCPS students. We need to have a fuller conversation about how do we honor them.”
Adamouski’s name may ultimately be part of the county’s NJROTC facility. Board members Beth Huck (At Large), Tom Marshall (Leesburg) and Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said when the vote returns to the full board, they will support it.