GCHS hosts Military Appreciation Night

Published 11:52 am Thursday, April 6, 2023

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GATESVILLE – Veterans and active duty military personnel were honored here March 28 at Military Appreciation Night at Gates County High School.

Lt. Frank Rice Jr. played baseball at GCHS and was later killed during the Vietnam War. Contributed Photo

The school’s JROTC presented colors and the first pitch was thrown by Navy veteran, Ed Geis.

Special honor was given to Lt. Frank Rice, Jr., U.S. Army, a native of Sunbury who played first base for GCHS and for East Carolina University. A Cobra helicopter pilot, Rice was killed in the Vietnam War on May 2, 1970. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “heroism and extraordinary achievement while engaged in aerial flight.”

During the baseball game, the GCHS Barons wore a special patch on their jerseys, featuring the Barons’ iron cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“We do not take Military Appreciation Night lightly,” said GCHS head baseball coach Jacob Harrell. “This was just a small token of our gratitude. We were extremely honored to have our JROTC present the colors and staff member and Navy veteran, Edward Geis, throw the first pitch. We were also honored to honor a former GCHS baseball player with the special patch on our jersey sleeves.”

As far as the progress of this year’s team, Harrell stated, “We are trying to get better every day and I believe we are. Our goal is to be playing our best baseball by the end of the season and we are working towards that. We will keep taking things one pitch at a time.”

It was noted at the game that after graduating from GCHS, Rice played collegiately at East Carolina where the Pirates finished his sophomore season (1964) with a 16-7 record. In his senior year (1966), ECU won the Southern Conference baseball title.

Rice was drafted by the New York Mets as well as the U.S. Army.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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