New Members Of EGHS Wall Of Honor Announced
The induction ceremony takes place Wednesday, April 10, at East Greenwich High School.
A sports legend, a 9/11 hero, a former governor are among the six East Greenwich High School alumni to be added to the EGHS Wall of Honor this year. The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, April 10, in the high school auditorium at 6 p.m.
Here are the inductees:
Anthony " Tar Tar " Ucci – Considered by many old-timers to be EG's only true athletic legend. Ucci was a larger-than-life character was EG's Ruthian-Thorpian sports hero back in the days when local semi-pro football was all the rage and attracted thousands to Sunday matchups.
Ucci attended EG schools, EG Academy and Warwick High and earned All-State honors in both football and baseball. He was offered all-expenses paid to attend Brown University, but in those days, Italian boys had to work to help out the family so it was turned down. Still he found time on weekends to play semi-pro football, sometimes playing three games between Friday and Sunday.
He also played for the professional Providence SteamRollers, but his fame came from his action for local powerhouses, Interlaken, The Sacred Hearts and the EG Townies. He led Sacred Hearts to an unbeaten, unscored upon semi-pro season and then in a matchup with the SteamRollers, held them to one touchdown.
People said he hit players so hard that some would quit playing in the middle of a game. He never wore a helmet when he played. "Tar Tar," as he was known, also wrestled professionally in a circuit that featured Gus Sonnenburg, the Brown All-American. He also played in the ICC Baseball League in Providence.
Ucci was the first member selected to the East Greenwich Athletic Hall of Fame and he is also in the Providence Gridiron Hall of Fame. He was considered one of the greatest All-Around athletes in R.I. at the time (1920s-'30s). He was called a tremendous personality in Sunday football, a big deal at that time.
Later on Tar Tar ran a variety store below the Hill. His generosity helped many people through tough times, some of whom went on to bigger and better things. Many never repaid him. It was said that if he had the money people owed him he would have been a millionaire. Tar was a hero and living legend to many of "his boys," who hung out at his store. A member of the EG Fire Department and the EG Veteran Firemen's Association, Ucci received many accolades from Dick Reynolds and Amby Smith, the preeminent Rhode Island sports writers of the time. The way he lived, and what he did for people, epitomizes what was special about East Greenwich of that time.
USCG Rear Admiral Richard Bennis – Bennis has been called the Unsung Hero of 9/11, was 1967 graduate of EGHS. He was the head of the Port of New York on 9/11 when the World Trade Towers were hit. Under his direction, 700,000 people were evacuated from NYC, by boat, in nine hours! By contrast, it took nine DAYS to evacuate 339,000 from Dunkirk during WWII.
This unlikely hero received a Bachelor of Science Degree from URI in 1972, and later that year earned his commission from the Coast Guard. After getting a masters from Harvard University he served in various leadership positions in USCG Marine Safety and Environmental Programs, becoming known for his expertise in handling oil spills and hazardous material accidents. He then served as Captain of Ports of Charleson, S.C. and Hampton Roads, Va.
In 1992 he heroically averted a ship explosion in Charleston. His methods, which saved the port and surrounding city, led to national improvements in shipping container safety and inspection. He also changed ways the Coast Guard responded to all emergencies, from Search & Rescue to oil spills. His innovative programs prompted the U.S. government to adopt a national incident management system now used by Department of Homeland Security.
As captain of the Port of New York, he led the largest operational field of command in the Coast Guard, responsible for the New York-New Jersey area all the way up the Hudson River to Canada. Rear Admiral Bennis later served as Associate Under-Secretary for Maritime & Land Security for the TSA. Among his many decorations are the Transportation Distinguished Service Medal, three Secretary of Transportation Gold Medals, four Coast Guard Meritorious Service Awards, three Coast Guard Commendations, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal, four Meritorious Awards and three Special Operations Ribbons.
Former Governor Donald L. Carcieri – Donald Carcieri attended Eldredge School and East Greenwich High School, graduating in 1961. He was an oustanding student and athlete his whole life. At EGHS he was both class and student council president and was a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball.
He earned an academic scholarship to Brown University, where he also played football and baseball. He graduate in 1965 with a degree in International Relations. He taught briefly at Rogers High School (R.I.) and Concord-Carlisle High School (Mass.) before heading up the Catholic Relief Services West Indies operation.
In 1983 he joined Cookson-America and rose through the ranks to become chief executive officer, then later, joint managing director of Cookson Group Worldwide, instrumental in turning the business into a major manufacturer. He headed a company with 12,000 employers worldwide and the company grew from $30 million to $3 billion in sales during his tenure.
Carcieri is also credited with helping to preserve the historic face of Providence as he had Cookson take over and renovate the former Providence train station and convert it into Cookson offices. Besides cofounding (with wife, Sue) the Academy Childrens' Science Center, he also served on EG's Charter Commission. He was selected to the East Greenwich Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2002 he ran for governor of Rhode Island and went on to serve two terms.
In 2011 he received the Tides Family Services Humanitarian Award for he and his wife's commitment to the poor and disenfranchised.
Ucci, Bennis and Carcieri will join Linda Alix, Peter Derestie and Dr. Fred Procopio as the newest members installed onto the Wall of Honor, the Class of 2013.