By Allison Roorda
FORT LORAMIE – The Fort Loramie Education Foundation has found a new way to celebrate Fort Loramie’s academics by honoring outstanding members of the community and education program on Fort Loramie’s Wall of Honor.
The FLEF was created with a twofold purpose in mind: procure funds for scholarships to aid Fort Loramie students and promote academic achievement in Fort Loramie. Last Sunday the FLEF began a new tradition with the first Inaugural Ceremony for the Wall of Honor installed in Fort Loramie High School.
“Today, we’ll be honoring three outstanding individuals and their contributions to the Fort Loramie community,” announced Master of Ceremonies Larry Ludlow. “One common thread that I noticed about each inductee was their commitment to education. The other commonality was the value they placed on family.”
The three inductees and first to be included on the Wall of Honor were John “Coach” Kremer, Madeline Maurer and the late Urban E. “Turb” Raterman. Each member was introduced by a family member or friend.
“If I told you all the stories I have about my grandpa, we’d probably be here until tomorrow,” said Jacob Kremer, who introduced his grandfather John Kremer by telling stories of people who had words of respect for his grandfather.
John Kremer worked for the Fort Loramie school district for 31 years, starting in 1950 as a teacher and varsity basketball and baseball coach. He also drove the school bus and filled in as the physical education and driver’s education teacher.
“I want to thank everyone here,” said John. “I was very surprised to get this nomination for this award.”
John was a part of Fort Loramie’s 1960 basketball program, when the team won the league championship for the first time in 25 years. The basketball program continued to improve, winning the league in 1964 and then ranking first in the state in 1971. In his closing remarks, John paraphrased Douglas MacArthur:
“Old teachers never die,” he said, “they just fade away into eternity.”
Ratermann served Fort Loramie schools all his life, starting with his reign as president of the junior and senior class at Fort Loramie High School. He was elected mayor of Fort Loramie in 1951 at the age of 26 and served on the Fort Loramie Board of Pulbic Affairs and the Fort Loramie Board of Education.
“He was constantly helping to improve his community,” said Gregg Morris, a family friend. “When you look at these wonderful facilities in Fort Loramie, we all have Turp and that school board to thank for it.”
Accepting the award on Turp’s behalf was his widow, Pauline Raterman.
“I want to thank the Wall of Honor for starting such a wonderful community recognition program,” said Pauline.
She spoke of her late husband’s dedication to community with his service in church, as mayor and with his tenure on the Fort Loramie school board.
“Without your dedication and hard work, he would not be honored today,” said Pauline of her husband.
The final recipient of a place on the Wall of Honor was Madeline (Albers) Maurer, who was introduced by her son, William.
“Mom was and still is very passionate about education,” said William. “Her love for God, her community and her family were evident.”
William also included some humorous anecdotes, including a story of when his mother broke her arm while at the roller skating rink with the school.
Madeline commented on the people who have asked her about her accomplishments since she was nominated for the Wall of Honor.
“I was involved in a lot of stuff and supported a lot of things, but I don’t think I ever did much by myself. I was always part of a team,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of things, met a lot of people, and I’m proud of where I’m from.”
FLEF President Dan Wehrman stood up and thanked all the participants.
“This has been quite an exciting year for Fort Loramie Schools,” said Wehrman. “With the new elementary school and a new cast of teachers.”
Wehrman announced the FLEF is already looking forward to next years Wall of Honor induction ceremony. Nominees from this year will be considered along with nominees received through June 1, 2010.