McKINNEY HIGH SCHOOL
HONORS DISTINGUISHED GRADS

By Ronnie D. Foster

On Friday, October 29, 2004, a new tradition begins at McKinney High School when the first group of distinguished alumnae will be honored for extraordinary accomplishments or remarkable service to an organization or cause. Six names were announced by a committee who selected the honorees from nominations by former students.

TOMMY JOE CRUTCHER, class of 1960, in the category of athletics, put the Lions on the national football map. He was all-state fullback, all-American at TCU, and drafted in 1964 by the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. Under Vince Lombardi he played linebacker on three straight world championship teams including Super Bowls I and II. Tommy Joe died February 18, 2002 at the age of 60.

GARY HARDIN, class of 1965, category of education, was a star athlete lettering in football, basketball, and baseball. He graduated from TCU in 1969 and pursued a career in education, teaching biology and environmental science, and coached football and baseball in Garland, Sherman, and at McKinney High from 1978 until 2001. Gary has been married to Linda for 38 years, with three children and two grandchildren. He currently coaches the golf team at North McKinney High School.

In the mid to late 60’s a far-off war took its toll as eleven McKinney boys courageously fought and died in Vietnam. Four were MHS graduates, and in an ironic twist of fate all were killed within six weeks of one another in the same part of the country. In the category of patriotism, they are:

CHARLES WILLIAM "BILL" BRYAN, class of 1966. Bill was a Boy Scout and played center on the football team. As a US Marine, Cpl. Bryan excelled in one of the most dangerous jobs in any war, reconnaissance. Recon Marines operated clandestinely in small teams deep within enemy held territory, where they reported on troop movement or directed artillery and air strikes on enemy positions. Bill was a team leader with 3rd Recon Battalion, based out of Khe Sanh Combat Base in jungle covered mountains in the far northwest corner of the country. On January 20, 1968 he led an eight-man team on a mission to Hill 881 North, where they came under heavy fire from an estimated battalion of NVA. Bill was killed while trying to save the lives of two of his teammates, and was awarded the Navy Cross, the second highest award our county gives for heroism. Bill was 20 years old.

JAMES EDGAR MALONE, class of ’66, played football and loved hot-rod cars. He entered the US Army and followed in the footsteps of his father who was a paratrooper in WWII. James was a rifleman with the famous 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles" stationed in the northeast corner of South Vietnam. On the afternoon of February 3, 1968, James’ unit was ordered to attack a battalion of NVA who had occupied the village of Hai Lang. While advancing on an enemy bunker across open rice paddies, PFC Malone was killed by enemy gunfire. He was 21.

CHARLES EDWIN HOFFMAN, class of ’66, played linebacker in football, sang in the MHS Choir, and acted in plays. Four months after graduation he joined the Army, and like his father, trained to be a medic. Charles arrived in Vietnam in September 1967 assigned to 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment operating in the Central Highlands southwest of Da Nang where he was credited for saving many lives. On the night of Febuary 9, 1968, during an intense battle near a place called LZ Hardcore, while his platoon was setting up a night defensive perimeter, they came under a heavy mortar barrage. Charles immediately jumped from a position of relative safety to attend to a number of men who were severely wounded. Disregarding his own safety he moved about the area until a mortar exploded beside him, killing his instantly. Sp4 Hoffman 19, was awarded the Silver Star for bravery.

THOMAS B. HOLDBROOKS, class of ’67, sang in the MHS Choir, and seemed to always have a smile on his face. On December 28, 1967, Marine PFC Holdbrooks’ unit, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, was inserted by helicopter into a place called Go Noi Island. Tommy was a rifleman with Echo Company and was one of the first men on the ground. His squad was caught in the open by hidden Communist forces and cut down by heavy machine gun fire. He was killed in the initial blast and was one of twenty-three Marines who died in the operation. He was 19 years old.

 

McKinney High School Stadium

Awards Presentation
(left to right)
Gary Hardin (w/baby), Don Crutcher, Judith Hoffman Holiday, Deidra Bryan Washam, R. D. Foster (accepting for James Malone's family) Vickie Holdbrooks Lyons

McKinney Lions Band and Drill Team
  

Back to CCFF Homepage