Like the other recipients today, I am truly honored and humbled to be here. I would like to take a couple of minutes say a few thank yous. When I look back at my career at Williston I am struck by how fortunate I have been. I have had lots of luck along the way, but did my best to make the most of it. That luck started near the end of summer in 1978. I had just finished my masters in athletic training at Western Michigan and was home in eastern Mass working on a farm, as I had through high school and college. I got a call from George Dunnington, who was Williston’s business manager, asking if I was interested in coming for an interview for an athletic training position that had just opened up at the school. I was in Easthampton the next morning to interview with George. It was the beginning of Labor Day Weekend and the campus was pretty much deserted. No students were around and most faculty were away enjoying their last days of summer. I never met the Head of School, Athletic Director, coaches or any faculty members, just George. He explained that the athletic equipment manager had just resigned and that for the last few years Rick Francis, the Athletic Director, had been pushing him to hire an athletic trainer. The job would combine running the equipment room and being the school’s first athletic trainer.
I went home, and later that evening George called to offer me the job. It was a chance to start an athletic training program from scratch and the job included housing and meals. It was a pretty easy decision for me. My farming days were over. I packed up my car and was on campus the next day. Who could’ve guessed that I would still be hanging around Williston 40 years later.
That first year was a blur, but I learned that I really liked working with high school kids and athletic training was right for me. I enjoyed more good luck the following year. Miss Odell a hot, young Spanish teacher, joined the faculty. Well, one thing led to another and 2 years later we were married and were dorm parents in Willy Cottage, now Conant House. Starting out, neither of us expected us to spend our whole working careers in one place, but it turns out Williston was the place for us. We were lucky enough to raise Sam and Jill here and see them take advantage of all that Williston had to offer.
In my years at Williston I worked with 2 Athletic Directors, Rick Francis and Mark Conroy. I was really fortunate to work for such a long time with two of the most highly respected athletic directors in NEPSAC. Thank you both Rick and Mark for all your guidance and support over the years.
I got lucky again when in 1997 we hired a young kid out of Springfield College to be the assistant athletic trainer. She was barely older than most of our PG’s. Melissa Brousseau and I worked together for almost 20 years. We improved and grew the athletic training program to be one of the best around. Thank you Mrs. B. for always being there and for all you continue to do for our students.
And finally, I have been lucky enough to work with thousands of great kids over the years. Most of the students that I worked with are now alums and the rest of you will be before you know it. Because of you, what I did never really felt like a job. I got paid to hang out in the gym, and go to games on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You all helped to make this the perfect job for me.
Thank you Williston community and good luck seniors.