It’s really hard to believe but the Thomaston-Upson Sports Hall of Fame will is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. It all got started back in 2005 when we inducted our first 15-member class.
Our 2014 10th anniversary class will consist of five individuals and two teams. Following this year’s induction the Hall of Fame will consist of 74 individuals and 11 teams. It’s amazing how the size of the organization has increased over the years. When I look at the names on the list of members, I can get a great overview of the athletic history of Thomaston-Upson County. There are some great athletes in our Hall.
Our 12-member Board of Directors always does a great job in selecting the yearly classes. Serving as the board’s chairman, I am extremely proud of this group and can verify that they work hard and give much thought and scrutiny in making their selections. It is not an easy job!
Three members of our present board have been around since the beginning. Jim Pruett, Ronnie Lowe, and I have served for the entire 10-year life of the organization. We have served with some outstanding people, but these men have been the backbone of the Hall’s board. It has been a joy to work with everyone who has been a part of our board, especially Jim and Ronnie.
We have received considerable support from our local community. We appreciate those businesses which have supported us by advertising in our banquet program. These businesses have allowed us to print a quality program as well as present attractive awards to our inductees. The local media has also supported us strongly and have made it possible for us to get our message out to the community. We are thankful for all of the support that we have received from everyone, including those who have faithfully attended our banquets.
It has been very rewarding to hear our inductees speak of their appreciation upon being included in the Hall of Fame. Many of them have spoken very positively about their careers in our community and some have even gotten emotional during their speeches. I have spoken at length with every inductee and, without exception, they have all been very excited about their induction. They are very grateful of being recognized by their “hometown.”
One thing that we have accomplished is to create reunions that may never have occurred. In inducting teams we have encouraged and promoted several reunions that may have never happened without our involvement.It is always rewarding to see these players get together, share old stories, and catch up on what’s happening in their lives today. This is one of the best things that we accomplish.
Another positive thing that we have done is to educate our community on the accomplishments of so many athletes, coaches, and contributors. As time passes, the achievements of some of our best athletes are forgotten and we take great pride in recognizing these people and reflecting on and highlighting their considerable careers.
The Class of 2014 is a very strong one. The individual inductees are Foy Bentley, Dickie Deal, Michael Hicks, Clint McAbee, and Raymond Phagan. The teams are the 1962 & 1963 Drake High School boys’ basketball teams and the 1970 R.E. Lee football team. All of these inductees have made a significant contribution to our local athletic history.
Mr. Deal is deceased, but we expect the other individual inductees to attend our banquet and we also expect a large representation from the teams. It should be a wonderful evening and we expect a large crowd to support our inductees.
Our 10th annual banquet will be held at the Upson-Lee High School cafeteria at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 22, 2014. Tickets are on sale from every board member for $20 each. They can also be purchased at the offices of The Thomaston Times. The price of our tickets has not gone up since we started and you can be assured that it will be the best $20 you will spend this year. The meal is superb and the program will be very entertaining and informative.
I hope to see another large crowd at our banquet. These inductees deserve our support and I’m sure that they would appreciate seeing a large group in attendance.
I hope to see you there! I can assure you, without reservation, that it will be one of the best evenings of your year!