WILLSBORO - Harris Young and Tom Spierto were honored at Willsboro Central School's graduation ceremony June 25 when they were named as the newest honorees on the school's Wall of Distinction.
Sponsored by the Willsboro Alumni Association, the Wall of Distinction was created to honor and recognize deserving alumni of Willsboro for their achievements, prominence, and distinction to the community and society.
Young, a 1942 graduate of Willsboro, served as a pilot in the Army Air Corp during World War II, flying C-46 and C-47 planes. After his active discharge, he proudly served in the armed forces from 1946-1968 until his retirement from the Air Force Reserves, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Young returned to Willsboro following the War where he owned and operated Riverside Restaurant for 12 years and drove bus for the school.
In 1947, Young founded the Annual Willsboro Memorial Day Celebration, which continues to this day. In 2007, he was honored by the National American Legion for 60 years of membership.
Young's commitment to the military led him to his position as a NYS Veterans' Counselor. He helped many local families in his role and made a difference in the lives of parents as well as veterans upon their return from service.
Young became involved in local politics in 1976 when he was elected to the position of Town Justice/Councilman. He was credited for turning many lives around with his strict policies and decisions, holding people accountable from the bench. He held this position in the town for 11 years.
Spierto is a member of Willsboro's Class of 1955 in which he served as the class president. During his high school career, he formed the school's first student council, served as the captain of the basketball team and started on the championship baseball team.
Spierto came back to Willsboro as a faculty member in 1962. He taught social studies and was the JV Basketball coach, serving in those positions for 33 years. He is recognized for being instrumental in the feeder basketball program, which provided great success as students progressed to the high school basketball program.
He also served as the school's guidance counselor where he is remembered for going the extra mile to help students select the right college and career.
Spierto served as advisor for nine different classes, including all the fund raising and class trips. He is also remembered for sharing many positive teaching strategies and educational philosophies with younger colleagues.
As a leader in the community, Spierto helped organize the first successful Historical Society; and served on the Youth Commission, Elks Club and Knights of Columbus Free Throw contest, and the Fife and Drum Corps.
Spierto and his wife, Jane, continue to live in Willsboro and spend the winters in the south.