MLAA to present Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards


Staff Report



ROCKSPRINGS — The Meigs Local Alumni Association (MLAA) will present the Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards prior to the Marauders’ Homecoming game on Friday evening.

The 2018 Distinguished Alumni and Service Award recipients are Phillip Moon, Gary Coleman, Jillian Wilt-Kranyik and Dave and Jamie Deem. Awards will be presented by Meigs Local Superintendent, Scot Gheen; Meigs High School Principal, Travis Abbott; and Meigs Local Alumni Association Co-Presidents, Dru Reed and Jennifer Bartrum.

Phillip Moon — Class of 197

Phillip A. Moon was born in Pomeroy, Ohio on Feb. 6, 1955 to John W. and Annie L. Moon, the oldest of three sons. As a young child he always had an interest in music, and at the age of nine, after witnessing The Beatles in their first television appearance, he knew he wanted a guitar, which was purchased later that year with money earned from mowing lawns with his father. That began a journey of learning and enjoyment that continues now. In fifth grade he joined the school band and began learning to play the drums, and continued as a drummer in the band until graduation from Meigs High School and through a year of college at Rio Grande.

Phillip was a founding member of the rock band, “Blitzkrieg” in the mid ‘70’s and remains lead guitarist of that band to this day. He is also a member of the band “Marauder”, as well as being the drummer in the “Renee Stewart Band”. He has enjoyed working with many fine musicians for over 50 years and considers this area to be blessed with so many talented individuals.

Phillip has devoted his life to the performance and promotion of music and the arts in the Meigs Local area. He has donated a considerable amount of time to the Meigs Local Alumni Association through playing annually at the Reunion on the River. He takes great pride in being a Marauder and in the opportunity to make the event a success year after year. He enjoys fostering a creative spark in others as much as he enjoys playing himself. Other local musicians describe him as a kind and gracious mentor, stating that his dedication and encouragement are tireless.

Aside from music, Phillip worked a 27 year career with the Ohio Department of Transportation. Phillip lives along the river in Pomeroy with his wife of ten years, Jane.

Gary Coleman — Class of 1986

Gary is a member of the Class of 1986 and a 1991 graduate of Ohio University, where he received his bachelor’s in political science and a Russian minor.

He is an active Freemason, belonging to Middleport and Shade-River Lodges and both the York Rite and Scottish Rite bodies. He is the 2018 Grand Photographer for the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masons of Ohio and has been selected as the 2021 Grand Photographer for the Grand Commandery of the State of Ohio.

He is nationally published, including an image in “Ohio in Photographs” from the Ohio University Press. He was also a finalist in Football Friday Night Magazine’s “Ohio Photographer of the Year.”

In 2017, he received the OHSAA Respect the Game State Award for contribution and service by Meigs High School. He has taken images of the football team and band since 2010 from Football Friday Nights to performances in Columbus to Washington D.C. and looks forward to alumni band each year with his fellow alumni field-commanders and band family.

Finally, he enjoys sharing his images with others in what he calls the beauty of his slice of Appalachia.

He is married to Tanya, Class of 1983, and father to Shaun and Kassandra, Classes of 2015 and 2020.

Jillian Wilt-Kranyik — Class of 2000

Jillian is a Master Sergeant serving on Active Duty with assignment to the Army Reserve, where she currently provides support as the Retention NCO to the 0779 Engineer Company in Parkersburg, West Virginia, the 0444 Postal Company in Millwood, West Virginia, and the 305th Military Police Company in Big Bend, West Virginia.

After graduating from high school, Jillian joined the U.S. Army in 2002. She has been assigned to numerous units across the United States and was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Jillian enjoys spending her free time helping coach youth softball. She has coached the Pomeroy Lady Panthers minor and peewee team, the Knockouts minor team, the Xplosions Peewee team, the Ohio Valley 10U all-star team, and head coaches the Amanda Aftershock 10U travel team.

She and her husband are owners/operators of the Hitting Barn set to open in the late fall. The facility will be used to give local youth somewhere to practice during the off season.

A graduate of Woodfield University with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Jillian resides in Meigs County with her husband James and three daughters Payton, Kyleigh and Jessa. She and her family enjoy all sports and traveling to the Caribbean Islands.

Dave and Jamie Deem — Distinguished Service Award

David and Jamie Deem have both been lifelong residents of Meigs County and are both currently employed by the Meigs Local School District. Jamie is a 1980 graduate from Meigs Local. After graduation, she attended Ohio University where she earned her degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Development. She began her teaching career at Meigs Local in the fall of 1984 and is currently completing her 35th year as a Meigs Local teacher.

David graduated from University of Rio Grande with a degree in Elementary Education and later earned his Master’s Degree from Marshall University in Leadership Studies. He has worked at Meigs Local for 26 years, and has served the past 10 years as the Assistant Principal at the Meigs Middle School. Together the Deems have taught over 1,200 children.

As educators at Meigs Local, they were part of the first school-wide Title I program that involved team teaching and full inclusion of students with disabilities. Throughout their careers the Deems have served on numerous educational committees.

It was while teaching at Pomeroy Elementary that David and Jamie first met. Even though Jamie and David had each been involved in various extracurricular activities such as cheerleader advisor and basketball coach it was the love of teaching and marching band that sparked a connection between them. They were married in 1995.

David first became a Marauder in the fall of 1991 when Toney Dingess welcomed him as a volunteer band director. This is his 28th year with the Marauder Band Program. Jamie is not only an alumnus of the Marauder Band but has volunteered as the Color Guard Instructor for the past 15 years.

The Deems have served our community in more ways than previously mentioned. Jamie was a member of the Pomeroy Emergency Squad for five years. David coached for the Pomeroy Youth League and served on the Pomeroy Village Council. They are members of the Sacred Heart Church in Pomeroy where they were Directors of Religious Education and Youth Activities for several years.

The Deems feel their greatest accomplishment to this day is the raising of their three children Jessica Miller, Michael Blaettnar and Emily Grace Deem. After the loss of their daughter Emily, and along with the help and support of our community, they were able to design and create the Emily Grace Deem Remembrance Park. Emi’s Place continues to provide a place for the families of the community to enjoy time together. Throughout each year there are numerous events that take place there: birthday celebrations, community gatherings, Live Nativity Scenes, Art in the Park and the Summer Food Program are just a few that provide opportunities for the youth in our community. The Deems will continue to provide service to the community by maintaining and caring for this wonderful place for many, many years to come.

Information provided by the Meigs Local Alumni Association.

Staff Report