Prairie’s war stories add special meaning to Balaton Memorial Day ceremony

TAHS graduate Matthew Prairie offered the keynote address at Monday’s Memorial Day program in Balaton. Photo / Per Peterson

The gym in the old high school in Balaton was as full Monday as it used to be when the talented Warrior teams of the 1980s took the floor. But this time, people weren’t there to watch basketball.

Tracy Area High School graduate Matthew Prairie, Class of 2003, returned to the area to deliver an eye-opening Memorial Day speech that spoke of the harsh reality of war.

During his 20 years as a Green Beret and Special Missions Unit Operator, Prairie deployed to combat in the Middle East eight times and had numerous non-combat deployments to Northern Africa and Europe.