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The Suburbanite
  • Jackson honors Wall of Fame inductees

  • Here's a riddle: where can you expect to see a first grade teacher, a township trustee, an IBM employee, a professional football player and a pharmaceutical sales representative all in one location?  The answer is simple, on the wall of fame at Jackson high school.

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  • Here's a riddle: where can you expect to see a first grade teacher, a township trustee, an IBM employee, a professional football player and a pharmaceutical sales representative all in one location?  The answer is simple, on the wall of fame at Jackson high school.
    Last Friday night, before the tipoff of the boys varsity basketball game at Jackson high school, the school's alumni association honored the five newest members of Jackson's wall of fame.  The association took over the design and care for the wall of fame in 2002, which is now lined with beautiful plaques of over 50 different people who have made an impact on the Jackson community.
    The first of the five members in this year's induction class was Marilyn Jones, a former first grade teacher who taught in Jackson for 25 years, and who is still very active in the community working with the Jackson-Belden Chamber of Commerce.  “I love the people, I love the families, I love all the students that we've had,” said Jones.  “[Jackson's] the best location in the nation.”
    The second wall of fame inductee was Bill Burger, who currently serves as a Jackson Township Trustee and is a graduate of Jackson High School. “I was shocked,” he said about finding out he was inducted.  Burger has been involved in the Jackson community for many years, and has served with Jackson's Community Fair Board, Lions Club, Fire Department and more.  Burger is married and he has two children and three grandchildren.
    The next member inducted was Jennifer (Cook) Ruhman, a 1993 Jackson graduate and an accomplished swimmer for the Polar Bears. Among her many other accomplishments, Ruhman was a three-time state qualifier in a total of eight events while swimming for Jackson. 
    “I was totally shocked and very excited to be the first one representing the swim team,” she said, acknowledging that no other swimmers have received wall of fame honors before. “I owe everything to my swimming career at Jackson.”
    Today, Ruhman works as a pharmaceutical sales representative for Boehringer Ingelheim and lives in Canton with her husband and their two children.
    The fourth new member of the wall of fame is John (Jack) Carnes, a 1971 Jackson graduate who was a four time letter winner in baseball and football, and was a three time letter winner in basketball. He also received All-Federal League honors for baseball in 1971 and 2nd  Team All-Federal League honors in football in 1969.  Wick Hartung, Carnes' friend and the man who nominated him for the wall of fame, said of Carnes, “He could do everything.  He was mature, he was a leader...He was a great all-around sports athlete.” 
    Carnes went on to serve in the Air Force, where he became a Chinese Linguistic Specialist.  Today, Jack holds a degree in accounting from the University of Akron, and works for IBM as a Senior Certified Technical Information Specialist. 
    Page 2 of 2 - Carnes and his wife, Nancy, live in Jackson Township, and are the parents of two Jackson graduates.
    The final new member of the wall of fame is Rick Villella, 1977 graduate of Jackson High School and an all-around good athlete.  While in high school, Villella lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track.
    He went on to play football for Brown University, where he set season rushing yards and attempts records that lasted for 25 years.
    He was drafted by the New England Patriots and spent two years in the NFL.  In order to attend the ceremony Villella flew in from New York, where he lives with his wife, Courtney, and their three children. As a message to Jackson High School students, Villella said, “Really relish your time here, because the memories you have, and the things you can learn about life are never-ending.”
    The new members of the Jackson Wall of Fame were chosen from a group of about 30 nominees.
    The alumni association wants to encourage Jackson residents to continue to make wall of fame nominations for community members whom they think deserve the honor.