I recently read an article about the first ever list of Nominees to the Anoka High School Hall of fame. Why, do you say, this would peak my interest? We lived, for a time, in Minnesota, and Anoka was “our” little neighboring town, just across the Mississippi river, a couple of miles a way.
Here are a few of the 24 nominated the first ever Anoka High School Hall of Fame: Billy Bye-said to be the greatest Minnesota High School Athlete ever, captain of the undefeated high school football team, starred in a district championship basketball team, and in ONE DAY, won the district golf championship in the morning, played for the state championship baseball team in the afternoon and qualified for the state regional in five track events that evening. Gretchen Carlson, 1989 Miss America and Co-Anchor of TV’s Fox and Friends. Garrison Keillor, author and creator of NPR’s, “A Prairie Home Companion” , Keillor has turned down the offer saying “he didn’t do anything special in school”. Missing from the nominations is Michele Bachmann, congresswomen and Presidential hopeful.
Hall of Fame’s are a curious thing. Some people strive to be inducted to a Hall of Fame or at the least hope they might be included. Hall of Fame’s, or Walls of Fame are characterized not JUST by those chosen, but more often by those DOING the choosing.
When my children were young, we regularly visited a fishing resort, The Pine Point Resort on Leech Lake. It was customary for the resort owners to take Poloriod Instamatic pictures of “great” catches. My parents, children and myself, were successful enough to get out pictures on the “Wall of Fame” numerous times, (actually, the wall were picture albums kept in the Lodge on the magazine table). We must have been too successful, for it wasn’t long that the owners didn’t want our pictures for the “wall”. Thinking the owners were short of money, we began taking are own pictures and giving them to the owners. As I remember, the pictures didn’t get placed into the “book”. I suppose this became a learning experience for all of us, “Good Enough” is only as good, as the beholder measures it.
I actually frame these thoughts around the Lafayette Journal and Courier Obituary Column. I recently read, with interest, of the death of F. Ray Burchett, someone I had not seen for 47 years, since high school. I read that Ray, during the Viet Nam war, was assigned to the U.S. Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg, N.C., he was tendered appointment into the Medical Service Corps to attend rotary wing flight school. After graduating from flight school, he was assigned to aeromedical evacuation pilot duties in Vietnam where he earned several awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal for Valor, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star and Master Aviator Wings from the Army. He retired from the Army in 1988.
Ray was a member of the only Battle Ground High School Basketball Team that won the Tippecanoe County Tournament. Once and only once did Battle Ground High School win that.
Battle Ground High School, the building, the pride of Indiana education in 1922, is no more, having succumbed to consolidation. If Battle Ground still had a high school, and if the high school had a Hall of Fame, ……F. Ray Burchett should be a member. I certainly would nominate him….