Major Stephen Reich was commanding a large rescue operation in the mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan when his Chinook helicopter was shot down on June 28, 2005, killing all 16 men on board. In the wake of this terrible tragedy, a group of friends, classmates and teammates from the Washington community came together to create a meaningful and lasting way to honor the service of one of Washington's favorite sons.
The result of those efforts was two annual awards, one given to a Shepaug Valley High School Senior and a second award to a citizen of the Town of Washington.
For details of each award and how to submit a nomination, please see the links above.
Who was Major Stephen Reich?
Stephen moved to Washington with his family, parents Ray and Sue, and sisters Megan and AnnMarie, in 1980. He attended Shepaug Valley Middle School and High School, where he was an outstanding student-athlete. As a sophomore, he was the winning pitcher on the 1987 Class S State Championship baseball team. He was a member of the National Honor Society, served as a class officer, was selected as a Berkshire League All-Star twice in soccer and baseball, and was selected twice to the Class S All-State team in baseball. He received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point where he graduated in 1993. Following his graduation, he played baseball for Team USA and was selected by the entire United States delegation to carry the United States flag at the Opening Ceremonies of the World University Games in Buffalo, New York in 1993.
After his Team USA experience, he elected to pass on a promising professional baseball pitching career to serve his country in the US Army. Over the next 12 years, Stephen quickly rose to the rank of Major in the Army’s Special Operations Aviation Regiment, otherwise known as the Night Stalkers. Throughout his life and career, Stephen exemplified all the characteristics that you would associate with an exceptional citizen. He was a natural born leader who tirelessly and selflessly gave to the people around him. I believe we, the citizens of Washington, are better for having an example of such great character and service among us.