GREEN RIVER — Green River High School inducted the Class of 2019 into the Hall of Fame in ceremonies and events over the weekend.
Honorees included Gary Cain, Cheryl Chew, Randy Walker, Nancy Raso Ekland, the 1927 Wolves football team and the 1997 Wolves 200-meter freestyle relay team.
Cain was born in Kansas in 1940. He married his childhood playmate, Ann “Dolly” Anderson. He has one half-sister and two half-brothers. He has two adopted children, Lisa who lives in the Philippines, and the late Ron. He also has four grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.
Cain was active in sports beginning as a batboy in father’s Little League team. He was also a Little League baseball player. He participated in football, basketball and track from junior through senior high school, lettering in all in high school. He was awarded all-state honors, and was offered a football scholarship at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado.
He joined Navy in 1958 immediately after graduating from Lincoln High School in Green River. Cain decided to make a career in the Navy. He retired in 1980 after 22 years of service. He served in numerous capacities and received multiple citations.
While in the Navy, he was a member of the Pearl Harbor Admirals football, basketball and baseball teams in Hawaii and played football, basketball and softball in Guam. His football team went undefeated, and he earned all-island honors in football. Cain coached the Station Little League baseball team. In San Diego he played football for the Naval Training Center. He played his final year of football for the Mesa College Olympians, receiving his letter at age 34.
Chew has always had a passion for business. She took a specialized course in high school that focused on business operations called the “Company,” where the students worked together on a computer module that determined the fate of their imaginary company. She started working in small business at age 14 when she was given the responsibility of opening and closing a small tanning studio in her hometown. She worked up to the position of shipping and receiving manager at a small electronics store before graduating a semester early from high school.
Chew worked a number of jobs during and after high school. She began her college endeavor later that fall with a full scholarship to the local community college based on her computer information systems skills. She was able to take advanced computer courses due to her knowledge of computer software.
During the summer break she was one of six selected to do a summer work program at a local trona mine out a hundred applicants.
Chew made the decision to join the military during her third semester at college. She joined the Army National Guard. She took a semester off to go to basic training and ended up in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. She trained there for 15 weeks. She was sent to an attrition management and retention course and then was assigned as the retention manager in charge of 120 employees.
She spent the next several years balancing a civilian life and a military life as the operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom were in full force. She was activated to Fort Polk, Louisiana, during one semester of school, she was called up to help with Hurricane Katrina while trying to start a business. She was deployed for 14 months to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and then to Kuwait and Iraq, where she had multiple responsibilities such as team leader, record keeper and often assisted with the administrative duties and became second in command to her squad leader.
She returned from deployment with several issues and injuries, however, she was very dedicated to the cause.
She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming in 2016. She majored in business administration and finished the last two years as an outreach student while a stay-at-home mom.
Following several personal struggles, Chew began the journey to start Codobe, a technologically driven flexible and affordable workspace with meeting rooms where people can work on growing their businesses. She began Codobe to encourage entrepreneurship in smaller communities and give people affordable space to collaborate, do more and be inspired. She also serves on the committee for One Million Cups – Phoenix West Valley, where she works with other team members to create a community focused on support entrepreneurs.
Walker graduated from Dakota State University in 1976. He participated in collegiate wrestling, twice qualifying for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics finals. He was also active in choir and band.
Walker began his teaching and coaching career in 1974 as a summer AAU club swim coach in Watertown, South Dakota. From 1976 to 1979 Walker was a swimming instructor, pool manager, and head boys and girls swim coach in New Castle, where the boys’ team brought home a state title in a dominating 10 out of 11 win performance 1979.
Recruited by Assistant Superintendent Burl Hoopes to Green River, Walker was named swimming head high school boys coach and swimming instructor at Green River High School in fall 1979.
During the 1979-2004 school years, he coached GRHS swim teams that finished as conference runner-up six times, conference champions 17 times, dual meet conference champions 10 times, nine state runner-ups championships, and two high school 4A boys championships. He also coached five all-Americans.
During the 1981 school year, Walker was named Sweetwater County Jaycee Young Educator of the year. He has also been named conference coach of the year many times, state coach of the year on 2002, and Green River Distinguished Citizen of the Year in 2015. He has coached swim teams to state titles in both 3A and 4A, and has lead swim teams that finished in the top three at state more than 15 times.
Walker began several successful fitness programs in the district, as well as coaching. Walker also taught a number of years at GRHS, McKinnon School and Granger school.
He coached the first Green River High School girl vaulters with Wolves from the boys’ and girls’ teams being very competitive at the state and conference level. He had a hand in coaching both state champions and conference vault champions. Walker taught vaulters still hold the school records today at GRHS. He also coached middle-distance runners and cross-country with coach Steve Boyd.
Walker served as a Green River city councilman and a Sweetwater County commissioner.
While on City Council, he took a track bus trip with Rudy Gunter and came up with the idea of the sculpting challenge. Through Sweetwater Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Walker, Ron Harper, and Michelle Cordova created the Adventure Challenge for children that ran for 20 years.
Walker has ridden his bike across the United States. His swimming feats include swimming 60 miles down the Green River as a fundraiser for the swim club, swimming three times from Lucerne to Buckboard in the Flaming Gorge, swimming from Alcatraz, competed in the La Jolla Rough Water Swim, placed second at the 10-mile national open water championships, and attempted to cross the English Channel.
Walker still coaches at the Sweetwater Aquatic Team, a club team composed of athletes from Green River, Lyman and Rock Springs. SWAT is brought home its second state club title in its second year of existence. Walker was named Wyoming club coach of the year for 2018.
In addition he has a Black belt in tae kwan do.
NANCY RASO EKLAND
The late Ekland is a two-time Green River High School Hall of Fame recipient. Her first honor was as the coach of the 1977 girls swim team, which was inducted in 2012. Ekland dedicated herself and her career to physical fitness.
She was the Wellness Committee chairwoman from 2009-2017 and PEP grant director from 2012-2015. She served in health and physical education teacher and special education, varsity and middle school coaching positions in Sweetwater County School District No. 2 from 1975-2012 and 2015-2017. She began and maintained several fitness programs, as well as served on numerous committees.
She was the executive director for SHAPE America Central District from 2017-2019 and executive director Wyoming Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance from 1996-2019. Eklund was the recipient of the Mark Harvey Recognition for SHAPE America Central District. She was appointed by Gov. Matt Mead to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport from 2012-15 and 2016-19.
She was the PEP grant director for Sweetater No. 2 from 2012-15 and the Fuel Up to Play 60 Advisor of the Year for Wyoming in 2011 and 2012-2013. Ekund was also the keynote speaker for seven state AAHPERD conventions and speaker at nearly 100 conventions/trainings and an international presenter at Department of Defense Dependents Schools in nine countries in Europe and Asia.
1927 FOOTBALL TEAM
The 1927 football team is one of only two teams in the history of GRHS to win the state football championship with an undefeated season record.
Team members included coach Robert Huey, captain Kenneth Peters, Ross Davis, Eddie Mucho, Norman Nolan, Donald Nicoll, William Pons, Milton Maynard, Francis Higginson, George Weir, Ernest King, Darrell Thrasher, Grant Morck, Roy Peterson, Donald Kellogg, Clyde Doak and William Rood.
The team was unique in the fact that it was a nine-man organization instead of the more common 11. They played rival Rock Springs High School twice in the same season, and dominated it both times.
Their undefeated record stood for 77 years until Green River’s 2004 football team went undefeated in their season winning 11 total games including the championship.
1997 FREESTYLE RELAY TEAM
The 1997 200-meter freestyle relay team consisting of Ben Britton, Mike Moody, Dustin Robbins and Matthew Dockter competed under head coach Walker.
Britton was a junior at the time of the swim, while the rest were seniors that year. They won the relay at the 1997 state meet. They reached all-American status, and were ranked ninth in the nation at the time of their swim.
The team broke the previous state record and held on to the record for more than a decade after they swam it. Evanston broke the record, but their time stands as the best to come out of Green RiverHigh School for this event.
For more details on the Hall of Fame inductees, go to www.rocketminer.com.