Each year the Association names one or two outstanding Alumnus as the recipient of an Outstanding Alumnus Award to be presented at the Annual Banquet.
The Recipient(s) of the award shall be honored by the Association at the banquet held as a part of the Annual Membership Meeting, and shall have their photograph mounted and displayed in Bellaire High School along with past recipients of the Award.
Nominations may be made by any member if the Association by writing in letter form the name of the person to be nominated, the field of endeavor in which they have excelled, and an outline or resume of their achievements, activities and other accomplishments which brings honor to themselves and Bellaire High School. All written nominations must be submitted to a member of the Board of Trustees, or postmarked, not later than the second day of January of the year in which the award is to be given.
Richard (Chad) Balwanz, Class of 1970 has been chosen the 2016 Outstanding Alumnus by the Bellaire High School Alumni Association. A coal miner after graduation, Chad soon decided that digging coal was not in his future and joined the U.S. Army in January of 1971. Ft. Knox, Kentucky was the start of a military career that would see him begin as a Private and rise to the highest Chief Warrant Officer rank. He progressed rapidly with increasing responsibility, specialized training, and leadership skills that were widely chronicled including, the article Veteran Valor: A Green Beret Legend of Desert Storm detailing his mission at the outset of the Gulf War, 25 years ago.
Chad led an eight-man Green Beret “A” Team that was covertly dropped 150 miles behind enemy lines on the night before the start of the ground war in Iraq. Inserted at night near an “abandoned ruin”, they soon found it was actually a village. While farmers tended their crops, a curious child soon found the camouflaged “hide-hole” occupied by the soldiers. Knowing their discovery could lead to capture or death, a silenced gun was made ready. As the commander, Chad quickly and decisively acted by declaring he was “not going to shoot children or unarmed civilians”.
That discovery shortly led to truckloads of Iraqi troops. Outnumbered 150 or more to their 8 Green Berets, there began a daylong battle for survival. In the end, superior fighting skills and later arrival of air support allowed movement and extraction after dark. While many dozens of Iraqi soldiers died that day, all of the Green Berets survived to fight again.
Chad’s gallantry in action earned him a Silver Star, the nations 2nd highest award for valor, but his decision to spare the life of an innocent and risking of his own life is still cited in teaching military ethics. The battle itself is in documentaries shown on Discovery and the History channels as well as numerous books and articles such as Douglas Wallers “The Commandos”, Al Santoli’s “Leading the Way”, Tom Clancy, and “Desert Storm: A Forgotten War” to name a few.
Chad’s education includes degrees from Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC and Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, KY; CIA Field Operations Course; Department of Defense Interrogators Course; multiple Special Forces schools; Counterintelligence Courses and Advanced Officer Staff courses. In addition to the Silver Star, he earned a Legion of Merit and 16 other medals, awards and military decorations.
He has served multiple tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, including the Middle East and The Horn of Africa assigned to the Intelligence Directorate of the US Special Operations Command Central. After retiring from the military, he was in Afghanistan as a Senior Intelligence Officer in support of anti-terrorism and targeting of senior al-Qaeda leaders. He was also a Liaison for the Defense Department in the Detroit Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Chad is married to the former Janet Lee Tapp of Catlett, VA and the father of a son, Brandon; two daughters Maggie and Krystin and a step-daughter, Samara Tapp. He currently resides near Glencoe, Ohio and maintains active association with the American Legion.
2012 Thomas Poe ‘68, Banking & Civic
2011 Dr. Charles T. Mehlman ’80, Medicine
2010 Kathy Hyett ‘71, Public Relations
2009 Martin F. Goetze ‘54, Health Care and Executive Management
2008 L. Dean Giacometti, ‘38, Education
2007 James B. Piatt '83 , Higher Education
2006 Donald A. Ostasiewski '58, Higher Education
2005 Daniel Frizzi, Jr. '70, Civic
2004 Gary Hill, Education
2003 Nancy Crooks Karvellis '66, Business
2002 Walter M. Calinger '57, Education
2001 Dr. James E. Austin '51, Dentistry
2000 Terry Allen Wallace '65, Administration
1999 Jules J. Duga, Ph.D. '49, Technology and Society
1998 Emil George Riedel, Jr. '50, National Security
1997 Dr. Rose Z. Starr '60, Teacher/Social Worker
1996 Judge John J. Malik, Jr. '46, Law
1995 Joseph A. Pitts, Sr., D.O. '49, Medicine
1994 Donald M. Knox '50, Education
1993 Alan E. Riedel '48, Law/Business
1992 Thomas E. Rataiczak '64, Education
1991 Robert L. Hill '49, Law/Public Service
1990 Daniel Howard Simpson '57, Govt./Public Service, U.S.Ambassador
1989 Dr. Samuel Evans '57, Intl. and Public Insurance, Adjusting, Consulting
1988 Nelson Lancione '36, Law
1987 Metta Miller '69, Advertising/Business
1986 Charles Tod Goodwin '31, Athletics/Military Service
1985 Kelley Archer '40, Civic Achievement/Law
1984 Dr. Peter Lancione '28, Medicine
1983 Benjamin J. Belt '11, Education
1982 Don Ault '47 and Joe Ault '53, Athletics
1981 Mary Fitch '31, Civic Achievement; Lou Mahacek '31,Commercial Art
1980 John Nosker '29, Banking
1979 Hilda Humes Burrows '22, Public Service/Education
1978 William R. Yost '44, Major General, U.S. Air Force
1977 A. G. Lancione '24, Ohio State Representative
1976 J. E. Giffin '16 and Lela Daugherty Giffin '14, Banking/Americanism
1975 Albert V. Noice '17, Banking/Education
1974 James DeBlasis '49, Artistic Director, Cincinnati Opera
1973 Frank W. Ault '39, Captain, U.S. Navy
1972 Velma Workman '14, Education
1971 Joe Mack '16, Public Service
1970 David Myers Creamer '23, Medicine
1969 Michael Basrak ‘31, Coaching/Education
1968 George Tyler ‘23, Law; Eleanor Tyler ‘29, Education
1967 Oliver E. Miles ‘25, Business
1966 Dr. W. J. Shepard ‘09, Medicine
1965 Robert Frank Aldridge, Business
1964 Dr. J. F. Wilkinson ‘10, Medicine
1963 Dr. George W. Watt ‘27, Chemistry
1962 Nick Skorich ‘39, Professional Football Coach
1961 Alfred Garrett ‘24, Education
1960 Navy Lt. Raymond H. Dick ‘38, Atomic Powered Submarines
1959 Rabbi Feinberg ‘16, Author
1958 Lane W. Lancaster ‘10, Political Science
1957 James H. McGregor, Education
1956 Walter Russell ‘10, Bio-Chemistry Research
1955 Mabel Cratty 1884, National Secretary, YWCA
1954 Bessie Hoge 1884, Missionary
1953 Erven Somerville ‘26, Major, U.S. Army