kearny komets hall of fame


Distinguished Kearny Komets Hall of Fame Inductees

Richard Anaya, Retired USMC & Vietnam Vet, Class of 1957

John Baumgardner, CEO & Vice Chairman Ace Parking, Class of 1978

Mary Buckman, Sculptor, Class of 1965

Wayne Cross, Retired Captain San Diego Fire Department, Class of 1978

Mike George, Retired Principal Taft, Class of 1967

Pat Hawk, COO Tony Hawk, Incorporated, Class of 1968

Sam Mankins, California Collegiate Champ, Class of 1953

Antonio “Tony” Puente, Detective SDPD, Class of 1960

Doug Sawyer, Former CEO United Way, Class of 1967

Thom Vollenweider,  Photographer, Class of 1973

Thelma Eggert, Class of 1953, Linda Shannon Komet Spirit Award

Richard Anaya, Class of 1957

Richard joined the United States Marine Corps in January 1958 and served honorably with the Corps for 20 years. During his tour in Vietnam from 1968 until 1969, he served as the Administrative Chief for a Huey Gunship Squadron. He flew as a door gunner on 204 combat missions and earned 10 air medals and his Combat Air Crew Wings with three gold stars for that effort. Throughout his distinguished career, he was presented with numerous additional ribbons and medals.

Richard also had a very successful career as a Material Manager for both General Dynamics and McDonnell-Douglas and in between those two assignments became a licensed Pharmacy Technician.  Richard and his wife are retired and currently reside in Las Vegas. 

Return to top.

John Baumgardner, Class of 1978

As CEO and Vice Chairman of Ace Parking, John has the full authority of ownership to make the necessary business decisions regarding the operations of the nationwide company (over 5,000 employees.)   He has been with Ace Parking for over 25 years and started as the company’s chief internal auditor. John’s background in auditing gives him an unequaled perspective when it comes to reviewing revenue control and operational expenses.  John has been directly responsible for the development and creation of the best revenue control and audit department in the industry today. John has been instrumental in establishing the company’s customer service programs.  Through John’s efforts, Ace Parking has increased the net income at newly acquired Ace facilities while raising the level of customer service. Graduated from Kearny and USD.

Return to top.

Mary Buckman, Class of 1965

Award winning  San Diego sculptor Mary Buckman earned a degree in Sculpture and Fine Arts from Mesa College along with four years independent study.  She has been sculpting since 1982 and has created many private and monumental public sculptures that can be found throughout the United States and Mexico. Buckman has worked on numerous portrait commissions of public officials, including three bronze portraits of Supreme Court Justices for the California Western School of Law.

Her work has been included in the  National Sculpture Society’s Annual Award Exhibitions. She won the Elliot Gantz Foundry award at the 77th Annual Exhibit in Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina.  Her work was awarded 3rd place in the 2014 Portrait Society of America Members Only Exhibit and a Certificate of Excellence in the 2015 International Portrait Competition. Buckman was recently awarded Signature Membership status in the Portrait Society of America 2016 and 2017 Signature Membership in the American Women Artists organization. She was also a finalist in the Art Renewal Center International Salon 2015 and 2016. When not sculpting, Buckman teaches figurative sculpture classes from her studio/gallery in North Park San Diego.

Return to top.

Wayne Cross, Class of 1978

Retired Captain, San Diego Fire Department.  Bio Coming.

Return to top.

Thelma Eggert, Class of 1953

Linda Shannon Komet Spirit Award.  Bio Coming

Return to top.

Mike George, Class of 1967

Mike recently retired from the San Diego City Schools where he was a Principal of Taft, his middle school. He is a member of the Shriners and drives patients from Tecate to Pasadena weekly.  Mike is also a Clown for the Shriners, he works on and supports multiple groups awarding scholarships to the tune of $150,000 annually.

Additional bio coming.

Return to top.

Pat Hawk, Class of 1968

Tony Hawk’s sister, Pat has been COO of Tony Hawk, Inc. for over fifteen years and has played a crucial role in the growth of the company and its affiliates. She has a strong background in entertainment, sports marketing, endorsements, licensing, and management. Her brother Steve Hawk graduated in 1973. Their mother Nancy Hawk was the Principals Secretary.

Additional bio coming.

Return to top.

Sam Mankins, Class of 1953

During his years at Kearny high school, Sam (Sammy) Mankins was active with the KHS band, Spanish club, and track and field. He was on the ‘C’ track team and placed third in the SCIF championships in the high jump in his senior year. Upon graduation from Kearny in 1953, Mr. Mankins attended San Diego State College and was a three-year letterman at the collegiate level in track and field. During that time, Sam set numerous dual meet records, tied the national NAIA championship for first place in the Redlands Invitational, and ended the year by winning the California Collegiate Championships in the high jump. Immediately after college, he went into the Army and served as an enlisted Personnel Director at Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco. After the Army, Mr. Mankins began a very successful 35-year career in education as a teacher at the 6th-grade elementary school level. His dedication to teaching children and other teachers to help them improve their own teaching skills was indeed exemplary.

Return to top.

Antonio “Tony” Puente, Class of 1960

Tony was a (nearly) native San Diegan as his parents moved from Los Angeles shortly after his birth. He grew up in the Linda Vista area and graduated from Kearny High School in 1960. He met his sweetheart Dene right out of high school and would have celebrated 54 years of marriage to her next month. His wife, children, and grandchildren would all tell you that he loved his family dearly and that family was the most important thing in Tony’s life.

Tony was an accomplished and respected police detective for the San Diego Police Department, proudly serving for over 34 years. He was renowned as a figure in Joseph Wambaugh’s non-fiction book, Lines and Shadows, and was featured on TV shows like Border Wars and The Geraldo Rivera Show. He loved photography and was rarely without his camera. He also enjoyed travel, especially cruises, always with family and friends.

Return to top.

Doug Sawyer, Class of 1967

Mr. Sawyer retired from being the chief executive officer of United Way of San Diego. He also sat on the boards of seven non-profit organizations, including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, of which he is a past board chairman. Additionally, he has served in leadership roles at the Red Cross, LEAD San Diego, Children’s Hospital Foundation, San Diego Opera and the Globe Theatre. He also was the chair of the Holiday Bowl.

He attended Kearny High School and San Diego State University. He also attended the University of Virginia’s Graduate School of Retail Banking.

Return to top.

Thom Vollenweider, Class of 1973

Staff Photographer for United Press International in Europe, Team Photographer for the San Diego Chargers. Photographed 4 Super Bowls. Team Photographer for the San Diego Spirit/Women Professional Soccer. Owner and editor of InSports Magazine (the official magazine for the Chargers.) Successful businessman. He is the official photographer of the Union Tribune and many other publications (digital too.) He has supported the foundation at many events with high quality pictures and helps to train the Kearny photographers. “Best of Show and the People’s Choice Awards”/Del Mar International Photography .  “Best Sports Photography” from the World Sports Foundation in Tokyo, Japan. Selected from over 10,000 entries. First Place “Sports Photography Award” by the San Diego Press Club 2015, 2016 and 2017. Contributing Photographer for Time, Sports Illustrated, LIFE, Union-Tribune, LA Times. Official Photographer for  the CIF/San Diego Section and Junior Seau.  Thom was also a Navy Veteran, like his father before him, and grew up in Navy housing.

Return to top.