Hauer, Senske, Meyer and Happel inducted to Perham Hall of Fame
Sincerity and humor were shared in equal amounts from all speakers at the Perham Hall of Fame induction ceremonies held at Mulligan's Pub and Eatery Friday night after the football game.
First to speak was Yellowjacket coach Larry Hauer. Hauer coached from 1959-1985. Hauer took over the football program from Perham legend Ted Meinhover. He was introduced by former superintendent and Hall of Famer, himself, Dennis Drummond.
"Larry would literally spend hours after practice to talk about the nuances and strategies of the game of football...but more importantly, because of Larry I developed an understanding of the game of football and life, in general. If you played for Larry Hauer, you were far better for having the experience," said Drummond.
"I had many great years teaching and coaching here and many great athletes," said Hauer.
Choking up near the end, Hauer paid homage to his wife Lee and thanked his six children before reiterating the slogan of Perham high school in closing.
"I only wish my beautiful wife Lee was here to share this with me. She supported me for 31 years and was just a wonderful person...it's just wonderful that we stayed in this community and we are a school of champions."
Wendy Meyer, Class of '91, was inducted for her accomplishments as a four-sport star in volleyball, basketball, track and cross-country.
Her sister Heidi introduced her.
"What really stands out for me was being able to play college ball with her. Not many can say they were able to play a college sport with their sister," Heidi said. "That year, we really became best friends."
Wendy noted a little piece of paper she kept with her goals on it.
"I wanted to break the 1,000 point mark, make the all-state team and make the state tournament and I hung those in my room and looked at them every day and it pushed me to do what I wanted."
Fellow Class of '91 member, Sarah Happel was inducted for achievements in volleyball and basketball. Tammy Sturdevant introduced her.
"High school athletics and extra-curricular activities are vital to developing outstanding leaders and citizens and Sarah is a shining example of this," she said.
"My dad always said, 'life is a long race, Sarah;' and my mom, I'll never forget, 'just because you're an athlete doesn't mean you can't be a lady.' When I accepted that award tonight, I saw it as a mosaic made of lots of little colorful pieces of all the people who have been part of this journey. No matter where I end up in the world, I can take a piece of this, a piece of you and a piece of Perham with me."
Happel stood up for women's athletics in her closing remarks.
"I hope there is one thing you've learned from me, which is, if anybody ever tells you, you play like a girl, I hope you have learned to stand up tall, look 'em in the eye, smile proudly and say, 'thank you.'"
Gary Senske was unable to attend the induction ceremony after the game due to a scheduled medical procedure the next day. Hall of Famer Tom Meinhover introduced him. Senske was inducted for basketball and track accomplishments.
Meinhover made calls to classmates of the Class of '62 to "try to figure out who Gary was."
"For everything that he was, he was almost invisible to his classmates. For somebody who had all those accomplishments that he did, he wasn't boastful, he wasn't aggressive. It was hard for me to drag out of our classmates who Gary was. Yet he went on to do all the aggressive things that he did."
Meinhover reminisced about the time spent with Senske in childhood and how the town of Perham helped shape people like Senske to go out and achieve.
"I think the town of Perham in the 1950s was a very special place. It's a wonderful place to live and I appreciate people like Gary coming back and giving back to the community."