Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame welcomes 11-member class
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Successful athletes derive inspiration from various places.
For Freeport native George ‘Butch' Aggen, it was working one summer with handicapped children while attending Indiana (Pa.) University.
Aggen was asked to participate in a summer camp and jumped at the idea, thinking it was a football camp.
It turned out to be a life-changing event for the football standout.
”My challenges in my life can't compare to the challenges they face every day,” Aggen said. “That helped me become a better and caring person.”
Aggen was one of 11 inductees Sunday night at the 41st annual Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame banquet.
The 1972 Freeport graduate, who still holds the IUP record in career tackles with 429, was back in his hometown for the ceremony before a packed house at Laube Hall.
The loudest and most sustained applause of the night went to Natalie Schoonover, mother of military awardee Marine Sgt. Joseph Garrison.
Garrison, a 2002 Redbank Valley High School graduate, was killed while serving his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan on June 6, 2011, when an improvised explosive device detonated.
“My son loved the sport of wrestling, and his coaches never forgot his contribution when they started the Sergeant Joe Garrison Memorial Wrestling Tournament,” Schoonover said.
Bruce Shumaker, wrestling standout from Redbank Valley and Edinboro University, said his inspiration was from his father, Willie, who “merely got up every day and went to work at Hetrick Burial Services in Distant.”Shumaker's Virginia high school teams compiled a 386-138 record.
Former U.S. Karate team member Lori Gamble, a Ford City graduate, thanked her mother for “working extra jobs to pay for my training and travel.”
Gamble cited coach Galen Cruse and her training partner, Gwenna Carson, for “pushing me past physical limits I thought I could never pass.”
Apollo-Ridge graduate Clint Holes recalled his time at Penn State playing for coach Joe Paterno, and how football has shaped his life.
Another Apollo-Ridge grad, Kevin Talmadge, asked county student-athletes honored at the banquet to “embrace the opportunity to play athletics and meet great people.”
Mike Goodman, the 1973 WPIAL javelin champion, recognized his coaches at Freeport and at Edinboro in helping him attain “an education, great memories and great friendships.”
Leechburg graduate Dennis Yajko joined his brothers, John and Eugene, as hall of fame members and caught up with his high school coach, the legendary Frank Cignetti.
Randall Puchard, graduate of the former Shannock Valley High School, cited learning basketball fundamentals as a grade schooler from another coaching legend, Tony Bernardi.
Kittanning's Tom Emminger, honored for 46 years of coaching various sports, showed he was also a fan by saying how much he enjoyed following high school honoree Sterling Henry and his basketball Wildcats the past several season.
The hall's builder award went to KDKA-TV reporter David Highfield, a Ford City graduate.
George Guido is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers trying to get missing defensive pieces on field
- In reworking contract, Steelers WR Brown gets hefty pay raise
- Cole struggles as Brewers continue Miller mastery over Pirates
- Steelers running back eager to prove he can help bridge gap to Bell
- 22-month-old boy shot, killed in North Side; stepfather charged
- Student violinist,Valley School of Ligonier reach settlement
- Western Pa. played role, was transformed by victory in World War II
- Allegheny County CYF worker arrested on child pornography charges
- Youngstown State looking for repeat performance against Pitt
- Pirates notebook: 6 September call-ups include first-timer Diaz
- Alleged Mon Valley heroin trafficker arrested