By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– On February 1, 2020, the Salem-Keizer Beacons will host, through the Salem-Keizer High School Sports Booster Club, will honor their second class of Beacon honorees.
This year’s honoree’s (and their respective schools) are: Rick Herrin (McKay), Pam and Bob Zielinski (McNary), Dr. Gib Gimore (North Salem), Dave Johnson (South Salem), Coralie Rose (Sprague) and Lyle Mordhorst (West Salem) will be honored at the ceremony along with two community ‘beacons’ in Ted Anagnos and the Salem-Keizer Les Schwab Dealers.
The mission of the Salem-Keizer High School Sports Booster Club, which has been around since 1994, is to offset the high-cost of participation of High School athletics. As of now, it’s 175 dollars for a prospective student-athlete to play a sport in the school district and the belief of what this group, with its members and beacons, is to make sure all schools have ‘skin in the game’.
“All schools are important. If we didn’t take this approach and based it solely on those who have had great athletic accomplishments of some sort without regard to school, North Salem, South Salem, and McNary would dominate the Beacons because those schools have the longest benches – that is sports history,” starts President Bryan Sutherland.
“A school like West Salem, opened in 2002, would have a tough time getting an honoree because they are so new. In my mind, carried out to its logical conclusion, we would be honoring male Beacons for a good long time, again, trying to get through a very large inventory of athletic greatness. Historically women didn’t have the opportunities. We don’t believe it’s a good idea to shut the door on 50% of our potential audience.”
Not being inclusive, adds Sutherland, would doom the larger effort to failure.
“I think it’s hugely important that women feel like they are being included. It’s really hard. We want all of our honorees to know that they are being honored based on merit – what they have accomplished,” said Sutherland. “We ask each school to nominate two men and two women each year and we then consider each school’s nominees on a case by case, year by year, basis.”
And they’re hoping with this, there’s a sense of equality with what the group in the years to come as they enter their second Beacon event. Their first Beacon event was October, 2018 and has distributed 5,000 dollars to each school since that inaugural event to offset the cost to play high school athletics.
“Our goal would be to distribute much, much more in the future. The less participation fees are an impediment the less cumbersome are physicals, insurance, cleats, gloves, etc. – all the other stuff it takes to get on our fields, courts, pools, mats, tracks, and courses,” said Sutherland.
“We would love to see fully 50% of all kids involved in athletics and coming under the tutelage of people like Shawn Stanley, Ryan Kirch, Jami Morris, Don Berger, Alisha Murdoch, and Liz Doran to name but a few. If by picking up part or all of the tab we can foster kids getting in front of these folks, we’re all in.”
Tickets to the second annual event on February 1 event is 50 dollars at the convention center. Tables are 400 dollars. If you like to sponsor or donate visit: salemkeizerbeacons.com and go to the ‘donate’ tab in the upper righthand site of the page.