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Colville man inducted into
his school's 'Wall of Fame'

By Chris Cowbrough
Colville, Washington
April 21, 2004

Colville's Ross West was recently inducted into his high school's athletic "Wall of Fame."

West, who moved to Colville one year ago from New York state with his wife of 35 years, Cathie, traveled back to his hometown of Cheektowaga, New York last month, where he was inducted into the Maryvale High School athletic "Wall of Fame."

West, who readers might remember as the man who was lost on Dominion Mountain for several hours late last year while deer hunting, was pleased and gratified that his old high school would honor his prep athletic exploits.

West, Vice-President of Marketing at Colmac Industries in Colville, was a four-year member of the Maryvale cross country and track teams. The mile was West's forte on the track team. During his high school career in New York, West won numerous accolades-and races. He was a division all-star in cross country as a sophomore, junior and senior, and was a sectional champion during his senior year. He was also a division all-star and sectional champion in track his senior year.

He went undefeated in both sports during his four years of high school.

"I am proud to be a Maryvale athlete, and I have a debt of gratitude to the dedicated coaches who encouraged me and exposed me to broader horizons, and also to the community for the stage they gave us to play on," West, who went on to attend Alfred University on an academic scholarship (Biology and Chemistry major) and was a member of the school's unbeaten cross country team as a freshman, said.

"It is a great honor to be on Maryvale's Wall of Fame, among alumni of such good citizenship and athletic achievement," added West, who following his graduation from Alfred joined the Army as a Second Lieutenant. He served in Germany and gained the rank of captain before returning to civilian life.

During the induction ceremony at his old high school, West said a plethora of memories came flooding back to the 1963 Maryvale graduate.

Speaking in front of the current Maryvale student body, West clad in his old letterman's sweater, which he swears fits in 2004 like it did back in 1963, told his young audience that "No matter where you are in school, you can start achieving your goals anytime now, and people are waiting."

He said he looked around at the assemblage of students during the ceremony, marveling at something he and other graduates of that generation don't remember ever happening-there was a notable lack of a dress code.

Back in the Cold War days of chilly relations with the Russians, the Vietnam buildup and the pre-Woodstock generation, those high school halls were full of students who adhered to strict dress codes.

"There was no evidence of any dress code that I could detect," West said. "Except for one, perhaps, drafted by Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love."

West dedicated his Wall of Fame award to his old Maryvale co-captain, friend and compatriot Wally Reitmeier. While West served in Germany during the Vietnam War era, Reitmeier, who presented his award at Maryvale, was seriously injured while serving as a First Lieutenant in Vietnam with the Marines.

Life is a marathon