Memories, tears and sports excellence were celebrated at the Detroit Lakes Athletic Foundation's Hall of Honor banquet at the Historic Holmes Theatre on Saturday.
In a packed to capacity event, eight new members and the 2006-2007 Lakers girls basketball team were inducted into hall on Sept. 11 in front of their families and friends. The awardees were celebrated for their excellence in Lakers sports and promoting the betterment local athletics; two of the main criteria for acceptance into the hall. The banquet was suppose to be held in 2020, but was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm really happy for all the inductees and their families," said Jeff Perkins, an event organizer and foundation committee member. "We let them know almost two years ago that they were going to be inducted and then, of course, with the worldwide pandemic, everything got pushed back and thankfully we were able to pull it off tonight and I think it went really well."
Perkins said he was impressed with the public speaking skills the inductees showed during the program, even if the program ran longer than anticipated.
"Traditions like this are built off of those that come before you," he said, "and that's what we're honoring tonight, those that have built the programs that Detroit Lakes has to offer today."
Receiving the Anderson/Lia award, Dr. Tom Seaworth was the first honoree of the night. The Anderson/Lia award, named after former Detroit Lakes Newspaper Sports Editor Ralph Anderson and KDLM sports reporter Andy Lia, is presented to an individual who volunteered a large amount of their own time for the betterment of Lakers athletics. Seaworth was instrumental in securing sports medicine services for Detroit Lakes High School and has examined countless local athletes for more than 30 years.
"I am humbled to be included in an award that includes the names of Ralph Anderson and Andy Lia, who I also consider legends in Lakers sports," said Seaworth, during the ceremony.
Seaworth graduated from Bismarck St. Mary's High School in 1970, where he excelled at football, basketball and track, and went on to graduate from the University of North Dakota and Mayo Medical School. He also served in the U.S. Army from 1986 to 1990 as commander of the U.S. Army health clinic in Giebelstadt, Germany. In 1991, he served as a 3rd Brigade surgeon commander during Operation Desert Storm and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star.
He arrived in Detroit Lakes and joined Meritcare/Sandford Health in August 1991. Upon seeing the need for student athletic health services, he convinced Meritcare/Sandford Health to provide Detroit Lakes High School with a full time athletic trainer at no cost to the school. The school now has two full time trainers who work with high school athletes.
Seaworth told a story about Charlie Plum, a Vietnam-era pilot who was shot down during the conflict and parachuted to safely to the ground, only to be imprisoned by the North Vietnamese. Plum, Seaworth said, survived his ordeal as a prisoner of war and become a motivational speaker; sharing his experience with others. But, he said, the only reason he was able to share his story was because someone folded his parachute properly and it opened after he ejected from the aircraft.
"I think it's important to think about who folded our parachutes for all of us," he said. "It's really a team effort … and I love doing this, so I am humbled to receive this award for something that I love to do."
James Wood received an Honorary Letter Award during the banquet. Wood graduated from Detroit Lakes High School in 1967 and participated in football, basketball and baseball during his time in school. Upon graduating from Bemidji State University, he returned to Detroit Lakes and volunteered to assist and coach football, soccer, basketball and baseball. Woods passed away in 2018 and his son, Justin Wood, accepted his father's award on his behalf.
"(James Wood) loved sports because of what it taught us, how it developed us, and, in the end, who it made us," said Justin Wood. "My dad recognized the true value of sports, the fact that it taught us hard work, focus, teamwork, confidence, comradery, and even loss and some hardship, it teaches us the skills of everyday life, the real important stuff that we need and the attributes that make us successful."
Justin Wood said shared a story about he, his father and sister were participating in a charity speed golfing event, where sponsors would donate a flat fee per hole based on how many holes were completed by the team of fundraising golfers.
"He was not a golfer and as we tried to golf as many holes as we could … he would look over at me and say, 'let's run this hole, let's not walk it, we'll walk the next one'" he said. "Twelve hours and 287 holes later, as darkness fell, we golfed our last hole."
Justin Wood said the sponsors who pledged $5 per hole were surprised when he showed up to collect their bounty.
The 2006-2007 Lakers girls basketball team was also inducted into the hall during the banquet. The team ended their 2006-2007 season with a Mid-State Conference title and a 25-5 record. They were also the second team to represent Detroit Lakes at the girls state basketball tournament where they finished in fourth place in the Class AAA bracket.
"I was fortunate enough to coach both my daughters, Hallie and Abby were on this team … but in reality, when the end of the season came, I had 17 daughters on this team," said Mike Hoganson, head coach of the 2006-2007 Lakers girls basketball team, during the ceremony. "They were always there for each other, on and off the floor, and when one player was having a bad game, they picked each other up … it was a true meaning for what a team is."
Jena (Hanson) LaPlante, a member of the team, said the team scored 1,773 points and allowed 1,372 points and outscored their opponents by about 16 points per game during their conference championship year. She added that 10 of her teammates went on to play college sports. Six team members received Master's Degrees, one received a law degree and one received a doctorate in pharmacy.
"We finished the season with a 4th place finish at the state tournament, the highest finish for a Detroit Lakes girls basketball team in history, an accomplishment our dads still talk about," said LaPlante. "It's been fun reminiscing with my teammates again this weekend, we truly are a bunch of sisters … and we were blessed to have such amazing support from our community, our parents and our coaches."
Other 2021 Hall of Honor awardees honored during the banquet were:
Dr. Ryan Manke (2000)
Shane Tappe (2002)
Hanna Grinaker (2006)