2017-Taleah Williams, Norfolk

Taleah Williams was an honor student at Norfolk High School and in spite of being born without a lower left arm she also excelled in athletics.  She held several track records and qualified for the State Meet in 4 events her junior and senior seasons and was All-Conference on the basketball team.  She lettered all 3 years in both sports.  Tara won the gold medal in the Paralympics Trials in the long jump and she was a member of the 2016 Paralympic team in Rio.  This summer she competed in London where she won the gold medal in the long jump and is World Champion in her category.  Taleah is currently a member of the Doane University Track team.

 

2016- Sofie Tate Columbus

Sofia Tate began dancing in kindergarten.  She was inspired to pursue cheerleading after watching a performance by a University of Arkansas cheerleader on the internet.  She cheered for Columbus High School, incorporating athletic feats such as back handsprings into her routine.  She is currently a cheerleader at Nebraska Wesleyan, studying communication.

1996: Ron Gustafson Omaha


Fitting, the Hall concluded, was that Mr. Gustafson himself should be the first Inspiration Award Winner. The Hall of Fame’s inspiration award is named after its first recipient. Gustafson nearly died in a tractor accident at age 9 in his hometown of Lyons. He lost an arm and a shoulder and nearly lost a leg. At one time, he was defying the odds by just walking. Later, he played high school sports. He started for three years on the basketball team, averaged 10 points a game and was the team’s leading rebounder as a senior. He played one year of football, ran track for four years and played summer baseball. He graduated in 1984. His inspiration to others, including opponents, was as noticeable to observers as his outstanding contributions to the contests.

Gustafson’s Website: http://www.fullyarmed.com

1998: Greg Brecka Thedford

Greg Brecka

Thedford A childhood farm accident cost him his right arm. Nonetheless, he made Central Eight all conference in football at East Butler and played basketball. At Concordia College, he had scholarships for both football and baseball, winning the school’s Most Inspirational Player award. He continues to be an inspiration as a teacher and coach at Thedford.

1999: Donny Nordhues Greeley

Donny Nordhues

Greeley That anyone wins four state championships in his high school wrestling career is a rare accomplishment. That’s being a state champion from ninth grade right on through your senior year–every year; no losses in the state tournament. Donny Nordhues was the third person in the history of the sport to make the illustrious 4-title level, sweeping to championships from 1992 through 1995 at Greeley High School. That he achieved this lofty status while battling an illness that severely diminishes the very strength and stamina his sport demands, all the while being a perfect sport and asking for no concessions, has been an inspiration to his family, coaches, teammates, opponents and many, many others. He’s a great ambassador for his sport and an outstanding citizen.

2000: Joe Edmondson Omaha

Directing a wrestling club for years, Joe exposed countless Omaha youngsters to the benefits and lessons of competitive sports and provided the wrestling foundation for several state champions. He organized a national youth sports program, supervised the Kiewit Physical Fitness Center, coached the Blue Jay wrestling club. He has received no less than 13 service awards for his work with outh from the local to national level. He has a masster of sceience degree in criminal justice. Did we mention that he did all this from a wheelchair?

2001: Bill Holliday Elm Creek

Bill Holliday

Elm Creek After a lifetime of activity as an athlete inducted into the Hall of Fame’s first class in 1994 and as a coach with state championship credentials, Bill Holliday became a quadriplegic after a fall from a deer stand. This didn’t stop him from coaching. The work he went to to continue his chosen profession inspired those around him. He remains active today working with your children. And inspiring every one who knows him.

2002: Grosvenor M. (Budge) Porter

Graduating in 1974 from Nebraska City High School, “Budge” earned 10 varsity letters in three sports for the Pioneers. He was a two time All Conference competitor in football, basketball and track and state honors in track for two years. He received a “full ride” to play football at UNL, making him the third generation Porter to play for the Huskers. This being the days of frosh football, Budge was a starter at defensive cornerback for the freshman. Things were looking up in the spring of 1976 when he came out of winter weights as the strongest defensive back in Husker history at that time. However that ended on April 21st of that year when during practice he made a tackle on I.M. Hipp that resulted in a broken neck and total paralysis. That didn’t stop “Budge” with a strong heart and many years of physical therapy he earned his degree in 1981 in Business and Distributive Education, He still lifts weights daily and when not working he goes fishing with his wife Diane in their six-wheel amphibious ATV which he also uses for hunting. Claire, the eldest of his three children, might sum it up the best when said, “My daddy is real strong, did you know that?”

2003: Rich & Olinda Olson

After learning of Olinda’s diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease some 20 years ago, Rich and Olinda just dug down deeper to raise their young children. Countless hours were spent at their kids’ activities, especially if it involved basketball, since Rich is varsity girls basketball coach at Millard South. Even after she couldn’t climb the bleachers, Olinda would sit on the bottom row offering her praise and encouragement. Over time, as the disease took its toll, she became more determined to see her children grow up, graduate, get jobs, and even marry. Year after year she still makes the games sitting in her wheel chair unable to walk or speak, but she still communicates with her eyes or by mouthing the words to her interpreter. There is a lot of post-game analysis that takes place at home, and she even writes letters of instruction and encouragement to many of Rich’s players. Rich is always near by for Olinda, making sure her health services are in place, and if not, he takes care of her needs himself. Rich never complains because he admires the courage of his wife and draws inspiration from her.