Sargent brothers receive Lumberjack Awards
Convincing people to attend an awards ceremony but not letting them know that they will be among those under the honored guests can be a difficult task. And accomplishing that feat with a set of brothers seems almost impossible.
Bemidji High School officials, however, were able to complete that task Monday when Jerry and Frank Sargent attended the high school Hall of Fame and athletic awards banquet.
Frank was coaxed into coming because Steve Johnson, a friend and former school board member, told him Jerry would receive some sort of recognition. Jerry had promised Johnson that he would join him at the banquet because he knew some of the Hall of Fame inductees and wanted to be there to witness the ceremony.
Neither man, however, knew that they would share the spotlight with the Hall of Famers.
Each year school officials announce the winner of the prestigious Lumberjack Award which goes to a person or a group of people who have been instrumental in the development and success of BHS athletics.
And this year the Sargent brothers, who served the school, the students and the community through their labor at Nymore Arena, were the recipients.
“I was shocked when they called our names,” Jerry said. “Nobody had told me anything about this before I went.”
“I didn’t expect anything like this,” Frank added. “Steve had told me that they would honor Jerry for his more than 20 years with the school district but when they pulled this over on me Steve’s son Brad turned to me and said ‘We gotcha.’ This is quite an honor and because it is coming from the folks of Bemidji it is very special.”
Jerry began his duties at Nymore Arena in 1987 and held that position for 19 years and 11 months, finally retiring in 2007.
Frank was his co-worker for about 10 years and collectively they were as important to the future of Bemidji hockey as any coach.
Neither man, however, is willing to take much credit.
“It was a community effort,” Frank said. “I really think I profited the most through my associations with the people who helped and volunteered at the arena.”
“All of the kids were great, the parents were great and everybody treated me very well,” Jerry said. “When my brother and I worked at Nymore Arena we said everything we did was for the kids. And we always had the support of the school, the parents and the community.”
Monday represented a reunion opportunity for the brothers who have meant so much to the kids and to BHS athletics.
“Just meeting everybody again was great,” Jerry said. “It was good to see (Hall of Fame inductees) Bucky (John Buckanaga) and Andy (Kannenberg) again and to hear their speeches. I was living in the Cities when they won the state baseball tournament in 1973 and I was at all of the games.
“It was great seeing how everyone has grown up and to see how smart the kids of today really are. It was a very nice ceremony.”
“I’m going to remember everything about Monday night,” he said. “It was a real surprise. Honest to goodness, man, it made me feel so good.”