Kate DeWitte was honored May 23 with the Stephen Reich Memorial Award at Shepaug Valley High School.

The award has been given the last eight years in memory of Maj. Stephen Reich, who grew up in Washington, graduated from Shepaug Valley High School in 1989 and from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1993.

He was commanding a U.S. Army Special Forces rescue operation in eastern Afghanistan when his Chinook helicopter was shot down June 28, 2005, killing all 16 aboard.

The award is presented annually to a Shepaug senior who demonstrates character, service, leadership and achievement, traits evident in Major Reich.

The presentation of the award culminated an hour-long assembly attended by Shepaug students and staff.

Guest speaker Dr. Michael Gorra, a fellow Shepaug graduate and now owner of Aspetuck Animal Hospital in Marble Dale, highlighted the event with his words of encouragement to the students.

"Anybody in this room could work to become a better member of the community," he said.

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