BOTKINS — Long-time educator Audrey Pitts and retired Navy SEAL Steven L. VanHorn will be inducted to the Wall of Honor during the Botkins Education Foundation’s May 14 banquet.
Pitts was an educator for 37 years, with 34 of those years at Botkins High School. She taught typing, shorthand, general business, consumer economics, business law and bookkeeping. She gave of her time and talents not only in the classroom but also in many other ways: She was a yearbook adviser and senior class adviser. Her passion for women’s athletics contributed to her participation in founding the Girls Athletic Association at the school, allowing girls to participate and compete in sports.
Pitts’s most notable and lasting contribution was applying for and receiving the National Charter for the Botkins Chapter of the National Honor Society in 1959. Known by her students as “Mom” and in later years as “Grandma,” she was a very dedicated but demanding teacher, expecting only the best from her students.
VanHorn is a 1986 graduate of Botkins High School. He entered the Navy in that same year and after serving as an enlisted man for several years, he applied for and was accepted into the BUD/S training program in Coronado, California. After completing this training, a huge achievement in itself, he advanced rapidly through the ranks. Although he was initially assigned to SEAL Team Two, he was eventually promoted to SEAL Team Six, ending his career as one of its key leaders.
VanHorn had more than 15 deployments overseas, most to Iraq and Afghanistan on covert missions. He is the most decorated veteran in the history of Shelby County and has received more than 65 combat awards, including the Legion of Merit Award, the Silver Star, five Bronze Stars with Valor and one Bronze Star with Valor and Extraordinary Heroism.
At his retirement service in Virginia, his commanding officer made it clear VanHorn is in elite company. VanHorn personally had a hand in forming and carrying out the successful current policy of this country combating terrorism around the world.
The induction ceremony will be at the Palazzo in Botkins, May 14. Tickets are available at the school or from any foundation board member and must be purchased before May 7.