Former Paris High School students Colonel Jimmie Mills and Robert Riggs have been named 2020 Distinguished Graduates.
The Distinguished Graduate Award is the highest and most prestigious award the District can bestow on its graduates. Due to the restrictions that are in place due to COVID-19, Paris ISD was unable to hold their Wall of Honor Ceremony. The portraits for this years Distinguished Graduates will be displayed on the Wall of Honor at Paris High School next year along with our 2021 Distinguished Graduates.
Paris ISD decided to honor this year’s Distinguished Graduates at Friday night’s football game where social distancing and other guidelines were in place. Both Colonel Mills and Riggs had strong connections to September 11, 2001 and added a great deal of significance to Friday night activities.
Colonel Jimmie Mills is a 1965 graduate of Paris High School. He distinguished himself as a leader in the United States Air Force. He is a veteran of 368 combat missions and 1,219 combat hours over Vietnam, Iraq, and Bosnia.
On September 11, 2001, Colonel Mills was in Washington D.C. visiting the Pentagon for Congressional meetings when one of the hijacked airplanes struck the building. Mills and his staff escaped the building and he was back in command of his Fighter wing the next day in New Orleans.
Colonel Mills’ major decorations include 3 Legion of Merit, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 3 Meritorious Service Medals, 15 Air Medals, Aerial Achievement Medal, 2 Air Force Commendation Medals and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.
Robert Riggs is a 1967 graduate of Paris High School and a proud Alumina of Texas A & M University. He is a Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter and digital media entrepreneur. He has also received three coveted Alfred I. DuPont Columbia University Journalism Awards for Investigative Reporting. The Peabody and DuPont are both respectively considered the broadcast TV equivalent of the Oscar and the Pulitzer.
Riggs was an embedded reporter with the Army unit that led the invasion of Iraq in 2003 as well as covered Gulf War 1. His assignments have included covering the White House, Congress, Pentagon, and State Department during the administrations of President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush.
Riggs currently belongs to the FBI’s North Texas Chapter of InfraGard which was formed in response to the 9/11 terror attacks. Riggs is the host and creator of the True Crime Reporter Podcast that will air September 28, 2020.
Colonel Mills and Riggs were included in the events of Friday night football. They started the game off as honoree captains for the Paris Wildcats. Riggs brought a military challenge coin for the coin toss that he received from General T. Michael “Buzz” Mosely. Mosely and Riggs were fellow Texas A & M classmates from the Class of 1971. It is significant that both General Mosley and Colonel Mills were both at the Pentagon on 9-11 when terrorists crashed a hijacked airliner into the building.
At halftime, both honorees accepted their Distinguished Graduate plaques. Each received a standing ovation from the audience as the announcer read a short biography for each.
You can read the complete biographies for both Colonel Jimmie Mills and Robert Riggs by clicking their names on our district website at https://www.parisisd.net/70947_2.