ELKHART — Often times someone refers to saving the best for last.
According to Jim Hahn that is exactly what they did during the 2013 induction banquet for the Elkhart County Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night at the Matterhorn Restaurant.
Phil Preston was the 22nd and final member of this year’s class to be inducted. Hahn, a standout player at Penn High School who went on to a stellar career coaching the Concord Minutemen, introduced Preston who passed away last April. His wife of 53 years Shirley accepted the award.
“The committee saved the best for last. That’s truly the way I feel about Phil,” Hahn said. “This is going to be a tough one. It’s truly an honor.”
Hahn was emotional during the speech, stopping several times to fight back tears.
Preston was inducted as a volunteer. He was known for his love of basketball and his long-time sponsorship of AAU boys basketball teams, especially Wakarusa Pharmacy.
“Phil sponsored Waky Pharmacy from the mid-1970s until the late 1980s. It was an extreme honor for me to have played for him,” Hahn said. “He touched so many lives.”
Shirley Preston said, “I know Phil would be very pleased and proud to be a part of this group.”
Others in the 2013 class were Gretchen Nyce, 1989 Bethany Christian graduate; Russ Mann, 1999 Concord; Fred Myers, 1965 Concord; Haley Emerson, 2006 Concord; Ton Conway, 1958 Elkhart; Gary Kratzer, 1968 Elkhart; Clyde Riley Jr., 1969 Elkhart; Ben Paolillo, 1977 Elkhart Central; Rod Morgan, 1978 Elkhart Memorial and Jim Nicholson, 1973 Elkhart Memorial. Also, Doug Thwaits, 1974 Fairfield; Ryan Thwaits, 2000 Fairfield; Don Ogle, 1967 Goshen; Tenelle (Ramer) Milun, 1995 Goshen; Lance Allen Swank, 1979 Jimtown; Kellie Heuermann, 1988 Jimtown; April (Allison) Russell, 1997 Northridge; Gary Zimmerman, 1988 Northridge; Kent Sullivan, 1982 Northridge; Carol Duncan, 2002 NorthWood and Dennis Lewis, NorthWood coach 1985-2005.
Tenelle (Ramer) Milun was a four-year letterwinner and a four-time MVP for the Redskins. She was a 14-time NLC champion, a 13-time sectional champion and a four-time state qualifier.