Parents of American Hero, Jason Dunham, talk with MPMS students about the life of their courageous son
Posted on 03/16/2018
Deb and Dan Dunham, parents of American Hero Jason Dunham, talking with students at MPMS on March 16.

The parents of Jason Dunham, the U.S. Corporal Marine, who sacrificed his life to save other Marines while serving in the Iraq War, shared stories of their courageous son's life with students at Mont Pleasant Middle School on Friday.  While his unit was being attacked in 2004, Corporal Dunham stopped and threw himself on a grenade as he tried to use his helmet to shield others from the explosion.   He died with his parents, Deb and Dan Dunham, at his bedside. 

In 2007, George Bush awarded Corporal Dunham with the Medal of Honor, the highest honor America bestows on our military members.    An Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy is named USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109).

Dunham’s parents traveled four and a half hours to come to Mont Pleasant and meet with the students.  They showed a video, many photos of Jason throughout his life and talked about his personality, values and integrity.  This was the first time that the Dunhams met with a group of students to share stories, as well as, the heartbreak, challenge and struggle that comes with losing a child.

The Dumhams were greeted in celebratory fashion.  The Schenectady High School JROTC greeted and welcomed the Dunhams and middle school students lined the staircase to the third floor classroom, as the Dunhams enter the school. 

The visit came to be through Mont Pleasant Social Studies Teacher Steve Balogh, who read an article about Dunham and learned that he is a “true American hero.”  He began talking with his classes each year about him and often said he would like to visit his grave and meet Dunham’s parents.

Last month, Balogh called the town hall where the Dunhams reside.  He explained that an hour later he was on the phone, talking with Corporal Dunham’s father,  who invited Balogh to visit their home and learn more. 

Balogh brought a rose to Dunham’s grave and then spent hours at their house.  He brought with him, cards and a poster that his students made. 

The Dunhams gave Balogh mementoes for his classroom and made a short video for the students.  At that time, they also agreed to come and visit Balogh and his students at Mont Pleasant.

“We are so honored,” said Balogh, whose eyes swelled with tears,  as he spoke about the day he met the Dunhams and learned about their son, who he said,  "is a true hero."

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