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Calverton ballfields named for 2 killed in line of duty

Spc. Jonathan Keller, 29, a Long Island member

Spc. Jonathan Keller, 29, a Long Island member of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, New York Army National Guard died on Jan. 24, 2009 after returning to the states from complications to an injury he received in Afghanistan.
>> Read his story

Two of the ballfields at Riverhead’s new park at town-owned Enterprise Park at Calverton have been named for Shoreham-Wading River high school graduates who were killed in Afghanistan while in the service.

Jonathan Keller, a 1998 graduate, joined the U.S. Navy and served on a nuclear carrier in 2004, then joined the New York State Army National Guard and was sent to Afghanistan in 2007. In early 2008, he was shipped to Kabul, and while on assignment his convoy came under heavy enemy fire and Keller suffered critical wounds. He died in 2009. He earned a Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal and Army Meritorious Service Medal, and was posthumously promoted to sergeant.

Anthony Venetz Jr., a 1999 graduate, joined the Army in 2001 and volunteered for the Special Forces in 2007. He served four combat tours, and was an engineer sergeant, a job that covers a wide variety of fields from construction to demolition and explosives deactivation. During his career, he earned two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. He died of injuries suffered in what was classified as a noncombat incident in January 2011.

Formal dedication services are planned for spring, when the ballfields officially open.


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