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DLHS trio earn service awards

Almost two centuries of service to the Detroit Lakes High School athletic programs will be honored during the festivities for the Laker Hall of Honor induction ceremony Oct. 5-6.

During the evening the six new members are inducted into the Laker Hall of Honor, the Laker Booster Club will recognize three individuals for their exceptional service to Laker Athletics.

George Oja, Janice Johnson and Ray Heino will each be honored for a combined 171 years of service to Laker Athletics.

Although they are not being inducted into the Laker Hall of Honor, the committee recognizes these three individuals for years of service to the Laker athletic programs.

Oja came to Detroit Lakes in 1951 as a teacher at the junior high school.

He was the official time keeper for Laker hockey for 25 years, which included 10 years of outdoor hockey. Oja also was instrumental in helping coach and start the Junior High hockey program.

For 58 years, Oja was the official time keeper for Laker football before retiring in 2010.

Johnson started in the Detroit Lakes school system in 1957 as an assistant to the principal, and then transferred to the business office in 1960.

She retired from the school system in 1995. In 1957 she began selling tickets to Laker football and basketball games and in 1960, when Kent Freeman Arena opened, she started selling tickets at hockey games.

Fifty five years later, Johnson can still be seen selling tickets at Laker football games and at boys and girls hockey games.

Heino also came to Detroit Lakes in 1957, where he served as the Laker assistant varsity hockey coach until 1960, when he became the head coach for seven years.

In the late 60's, Heino officiated boys' hockey for 12 years. In 1972, Heino was part of a group which brought artificial ice to Kent Freeman Arena. For the past 33 years, Heino could be found at Kent Freeman Arena being the official timer at Laker boys' varsity hockey games.

The Laker Booster Club and the Detroit Lakes Athletic Foundation have two different missions for a common purpose.

The Laker Booster Club raises money and supports annual needs of the Laker Athletic program, while the Detroit Lakes Athletic Foundation raises endowment funds to help preserve Laker Athletics in the future.

Both groups would like to thank everyone who have helped make Laker Athletics what they are today, and encourage the support of both organizations.

Tickets for the Detroit Lakes Athletic Foundation Hall of Honor on Oct. 6 can be purchased at the DLHS office or from any Athletic Foundation member.

Tickets cost $25 per adult for the Hall of Honor Induction ceremony, which will be held at the HIstoric Holmes Theatre Ballroom, with social hour starting at 5:30 p.m. and the program at 6:45 p.m.

The six inductees include Dennis "Bubby" Drews, Darold "Horse" Thompson, Mike Neitzke, Mike Gunderson, Jessica Abrahams and Rick Manke.