On Tuesday morning, November 26, St, Charles honored two very special graduates, Lt. Colonel John Eichner ’82 (photo below, left) and Rick Keyes ’87 (photo below, right), with the school’s Distinguished Alumnus Award at the all-school community’s Thanksgiving Mass in the Robert C. Walter Student Commons.
Mass was celebrated by Fr. Brogan Ryan ’14, who was ordained as a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross last April on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. Deacon Marion Smithberger ’72 of St. Timothy Parish assisted. In addition to the liturgy and awards presentation, the school’s 2019 State Championship Water Polo Team was honored. Afterward, honorees and guests enjoyed a light breakfast catered by Bosc + Brie, in the St. Charles Advisory Board Emeritus Conference Room in the Student Service & Fine Arts Center’s Guidance Office Suite.
The Distinguished Alumnus Award, established in the spring of 2005 by the St. Charles Advisory Board, recognizes alumni who have honored St. Charles Preparatory School by their outstanding volunteer activities, professional achievements, and community organization advocacy. They have shared their affection for the St. Charles community and have been shining examples of high moral and ethical standards. St. Charles has specifically chosen the Mass of Thanksgiving as the forum at which to honor these men because it enables the school to publicly acknowledge their achievements and to present them as visible role models for our student body to emulate.
Our 2019 Honorees:
Lt. Colonel John Eichner ’82 served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force for more than 20 years, most of those as an engineer and program manager involved in the design, development, and launch of satellite and booster system for the National Security Space Systems Programs. Over that time he was stationed at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and in the Office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force at the Pentagon. John was the Anomaly Team Chief on the Titan IV booster team for the launch of the Cassini space-craft to Saturn in 1997. After retiring in 2009, he has continued in this same line of work, now with The Aero-space Corporation in Leesburg, VA, as a senior project engineer. He earned a B.S. in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree engineering management from West Coast University (Los Angeles), along with a number of other military degrees.
Rick Keyes ’87 who lives in Grand Rapids, MI, is the President and CEO of Meijer, the family-owned chain of 230 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. He joined the company more than 27 years ago as a store pharmacist in Columbus after graduating from Ohio Northern. Rick’s dedication, professional talents and work ethic enabled him to earn promotions, rising to Executive Vice President of Supply Chain & Manufacturing (2006-2015); President (2015/ a position formerly held only by family members Hank Meijer and his late father, Fred); and most recently, CEO (2017). Rick is known for his support of Catholic education in the Detroit area and for his emphasis on the importance of insuring employee diversity and inclusion within Meijer’s workplace.
We also thank both men for having remained supportive of St. Charles campaigns, community events and class reunions.
We are very proud of you, Loyal Carolians!