Rolla High School recently made some additions to their Veterans Memorial Hall, a set of benches donated by Dennis “Doc” Roberts. Roberts made this donation not only as an alumni of Rolla High School, but as a United States Veteran and retired Rolla Public Schools teacher. On Wednesday, Jan. 24, Roberts was honored with a plaque, dedicating the benches to him and his service.

Jamie Rinehart, Social Studies teacher at RHS, called Roberts “a constant symbol of Rolla High School and our community as a whole.”

“It’s difficult to think about Rolla Public Schools without thinking of Coach Dennis Roberts,” he Rinehart said.  “He dedicated over thirty years to the school as a teacher and coach, and has continued to remain involved in coaching after his retirement.”

Rinehart said he became familiar with “Coach Roberts” military record when teaching Freshman American History.

“You first hear Coach Robs’ story from someone else,” he said. “He doesn’t flaunt his service. The first time he spoke to our classes and told his story from Vietnam was really powerful. We were in the library and while he was speaking, other teachers kept stopping by to listen.”

Rinehart added that Robert’s donation to the RHS Veterans Hallway “means a lot,” because he was personally a part of their programs and classes.

“We were honored several years ago to hang a print dedicated to his service in Vietnam in our hallway,” Rinehart said. “And now we are very thankful that he has honored us with his donation of these benches.”

Rolla Assistance Principal Amy Herrman described Roberts as one of the greatest men she knows, and a man of service.

“He has served his country and community and continues to serve,” she said. “We are grateful for his donation of the benches for that. The seating gives an opportunity for students, community members and veterans to sit, reflect and be thankful for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve, this great nation.”

Dave Croft, who led the creation of the hallway added to these sentiments.

“The respect I have for Doc is massive…These benches just show what kind of person Doc is as he continues to give back to our society,” he said. “I am so proud to say I had a part in the development of the Veteran’s Hallway. I believe the students that made this hallway possible have done something they can be proud of for the rest of their lives.”

The Veterans Memorial Hallway was created by Dave Croft at Rolla Junior High and moved to the High School with the freshman this past year, explained Herrmann. The hallway is intended to recognize veterans and show appreciation for their sacrifices.

According to Herrman, several of the prints on display are autographed by nationally known veterans such as George Herbert Walker Bush, Paul Tibbets and Hal Moore. Others are signed by local veterans, including Dox Roberts, Vietnam and Silver Star Recipient and last living survivor of the USS Indianapolis tragedy, Gerald Poor, and Bataan Death March survivor Howard Chrisco. The hallway also has pieces from the USS Arizona and USS Missouri.

“The Rolla School District and Rolla High School have something that is unique and powerful,” said Dave Croft. “I will always be thankful for the support provided by the district on this endeavor.”