A medical nuclear physicist, an obstetrician, a retired investment executive, a financial planner with a Super Bowl ring, a labor relations attorney and a retired Omaha police officer entered the Benson High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame this spring. The Benson High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame committee selected these graduates for induction:
Tom Stokes, class of 1952
Tom Stokes is the retired president of Gates Capital Management, a private family investment company that is a world leader in the manufacture of V belts, hoses and related systems for the auto and truck market. It has 14,000 employees and plants in 16 countries. Before forming the company, Stokes was in commercial banking for 36 years. He is a trustee (and former executive director) of the private Gates Family Foundation, which focuses its efforts on education, historic preservation, parks and recreation, and economic development in Colorado.
David Jacobson, 1968
David Jacobson is a retired medical nuclear physicist who was the supervisor of chemical and radiation safety training at Omaha Public Power District’s Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station and then the director of chemical and radiation safety at the University of Nebraska Medical Center for 23 years, retiring in 2013. Jacobson also was a faculty member in the UNMC Department of Radiology and co-founded two businesses that were later sold to a Fortune 500 health care company. He also was a consultant for federal agencies and served on federal inspections and evaluation teams for most nuclear power plants.
David J. Campbell, 1970
David Campbell is a retired Omaha police officer. During the May 6, 1975, tornado that struck Omaha, Campbell tracked the F4 tornado from his cruiser and radioed in detailed dispatches. Local TV and radio stations were able to broadcast them, which helped alert residents to take shelter. Campbell served on the police force for nearly 30 years. Among other highlights, he delivered a baby, was shot at before subduing a suspect and talked down an armed man before taking him to a hospital for help. He is a member of the Tangier Shriners and Boy Scouts.
Dr. Monique Turner Tolston, 1983
Dr. Monique Tolston has a family practice with obstetrics in the Benson community. Marriage and family delayed her going to medical school, but she completed her nursing degree at Clarkson College. She worked nights as a nurse and, in 2000, was accepted to medical school. She graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in 2005 as one of six African-American women in her class of 109. After graduating she worked at the Charles Drew Health Center. In December 2016 she opened her own private-practice clinic just blocks from Benson High.
Michelle A. Peak, 1987
Michelle Peak is a director and senior labor attorney for American Airlines, managing labor and employment issues for the $30 billion airline that has more than 100,000 employees. She is a frequent speaker discussing topics related to labor law and diversity and inclusion around the country. Peak is active in the Dallas-Fort Worth community and local bar association. In 2013 she was awarded the Corporate Counsel of the Year, Top 100 Emerging Leaders Under 50 and the Corporate Counsel Award — Champion of Diversity.
Tony Veland, 1991
Tony Veland has been a financial adviser for 15 years, now with Heritage Financial Services. He was a starter at defensive back for the 1994 and 1995 Nebraska national championship football teams and played for the Denver Broncos, winning a Super Bowl in 1997. He ended his playing career in 1998 with the Carolina Panthers, then spent six seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Omaha Beef of the United Indoor Football League. Veland is active in the community as a mentor and on the boards for Teammates and Collective for Youth.
Troy Travis (deceased), 1989
Troy Travis was a member of the security staff at Benson High School for 12 years, earning the title of “Mr. Benson,” before his death in an August 2015 motorcycle accident. He was always there for the Benson students with a shoulder to lean on or as someone to listen to them. A standout football player while a student at Benson, he went on to play at Middle Tennessee State and later with the Omaha Beef. Travis said his biggest achievement was his daughter, Troi. A foundation in his name has been established.
Mint Design Group, Community Partner
Mint was selected as the first community partner honored by the Benson Hall of Fame. The owner is D’Ann Lonowski. Mint is located in the Benson business district and was instrumental in the implementation of Career Academies at Benson High School. It helped create the informational materials to inform people of the new programming, provided representatives to serve on advisory boards, and offered students internships and job shadowing opportunities.