Six enshrined on United’s Wall of Fame

HANOVERTON – The United Wall of Fame recently inducted its 18th class. The class: Captain Eric C. Brye USMC, Jonathan Duvall, LTC Ron Gesaman, Jennifer Waugh Neapolitan, Emil C. Ziegler, M.D., and Betty Whiteleather.

  • Captain Eric C. Brye USMC was inducted in the Athletic Accomplishment category. He is a 2001 graduate of United. Eric’s athletic accomplishments during high school include finishing 18th in the OHSAA state cross country finals. He set the school record for cross country with a time of 16:25 and was named All-Ohio and Academic All-Ohio. He also qualified for the national Junior Olympics in cross country. In track, Captain Brye finished in 7th place at the OHSSAA state finals in the 800 meter run. He continued his academic and athletic career at the United States Naval Academy where he earned six varsity letters before graduating in 2005. He was the Division I Patriot League champion in the 500 meter dash in 2003. He was also a member of the 4 X 400 relay team that broke the Navy record that had stood for 23 years. He has competed in numerous marathons, 50K races and one 50-mile ultramarathon. He is currently serving his third tour in the Middle East as an F/18 pilot.
  • Jonathan Duvall was inducted in the Academic / Career Accomplishment category. He graduated from United in 2004 and then continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh. During college, Duvall was involved in a freak sledding accident and was left a tetraplegic. After taking two years to focus on physical therapy, he returned to college and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He was then employed by Human Engineering Research Laboratories. He has used his own experiences in a wheelchair along with his education to make life better for those who are handicapped. He has completed his Masters Degree in rehabilitation science and is currently a doctoral student in rehabilitation sciences at Pitt. He has written numerous papers and articles and applied for patents.
  • LTC Ron Gesaman was inducted in the Academic / Career Accomplishment category. He graduated from United in 1980. He enlisted in the Army in 1986 and also earned a BSN from George Mason University in 1996. LTC Gesaman has served as a combat medic and Army nurse in Germany, Egypt, Korea, Afghanistan and several bases in the United States. He currently serves as the Deputy Commander for Nursing at Fox Army Health Center, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He has earned numerous medals and commendations including Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal Army Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Korean Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, NCO Professional Development Ribbon and the Expert Field Medical Badge.
  • Jennifer Waugh Neapolitan is a 1995 graduate of United. She was selected in the Athletic Accomplishment category. Her athletic career started at age 8 when she began competing in roller skating competitions. She earned 8th place in the nation for solo dance at JO Nationals when she was 12. In junior high, her attentions turned to team sports and she began playing volleyball, basketball and running track. She continued to participate in all three throughout high school, earning 8 varsity letters along the way. During her senior year, she set the Tri County League record and finished 6th in the state in the discus. She went on to play basketball and run track at Thiel University, but an injury cut her college career short. She graduated magna cum laude from Thiel in 1999. She currently teaches Spanish at Salem High School and coaches track. Among her accomplishments are coaching 3 state champions, 7 state finalists, 5 regional champions, 16 league champions, and 11 Columbiana County champions.
  • Betty Whiteleather was inducted in the Special Honorary category. She has taught at United for more than 30 years serving as an advisor to many student groups. She has coordinated the prom including numerous fundraising efforts associated with it. She serves as advisor to Ruriteens and Student Council. Whiteleather also is the Community Outreach Coordinator, responsible for organizing and delivering food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas to needy families in the district. She also coordinates dinners at United including the FFA, honors, band and spring musical banquets.
  • Emil C. Ziegler, M.D., a 1962 graduate of United, was inducted in the Academic/Career Accomplishment category. Ziegler and his family immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1956, shortly before he was to start 7th grade. He started school at United, speaking little to no English. He quickly adjusted and began an outstanding academic career. He graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average and co-valedictorian of his class. He continued his education graduating from Mount Union College with a degree in chemistry. After attending Purdue University for one year, Ziegler was admitted to medical school at The Ohio State University. Upon completion of his medical degree, “The Columbus 10,” a group of 10 doctors decided to move their practice to Findlay. He is an OB/GYN in Findlay and has delivered approximately 5,200 babies. He is also an award-winning wood carver and has taught a class on “Life in Germany” at a local college.