In the community, Schools

Vale alumni announce honorees for Hall of Fame

VALE – The Vale Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame is gaining a longtime school administrator and four graduates, all noted for their contributions to the community.
This year’s honorees, announced last week, are Bob Crawford, Dwight and Karlene Keller, and the late Gary Kamo and Joe Yraguen.

The Vale High School Alumni Hall of Fame induction banquet will be Saturday, Oct. 22, at Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario.

The event will begin with a social hour at 5 p.m., and dinner at 6 p.m. There will be silent and live auctions, with the induction ceremony to cap the evening.

Tickets are on sale now, and must be purchased in advance. The cost is $35 apiece, or $280 for a table seating eight. To reserve tickets, call Bobbi Buttice at 541-823-2900.

Bob Crawford

Although not a Viking graduate, Crawford was principle and superintendent at Vale Elementary and, as overall superintendent, was instrumental in the smooth transition from separate districts – Willowcreek, Vale Elementary and Vale Union High – into the current Vale School District.

After his retirement in 1993, he continued working as superintendent of the combined district with an arrangement that allowed him to dedicate his normal salary amount toward building the high school athletic complex. According to the Hall of Fame nomination, that arrangement was key to turning “one of the poorer setups in the league” into a top facility.

The Kellers

Dwight and Karlene Keller, class of 1974 and 1982 respectively, were nominated for their commitment to school activities and community organizations.

Lifetime members of the alumni association, they have sponsored and coached Vale soccer players in the Ontario rec program for 13 years. They have been involved in the Vale Chamber of Commerce, Vale Fire and Ambulance, Malheur County Search and Rescue, the annual Vale Crab Feed, and the community’s popular fireworks displays.

Dwight ran Kellers Auto Parts for 20 years, and he helped organize a pickup truck parade that broke a Guinness Book record for the longest pickup parade. He has been active in the Vale Lions and served on boards for the rodeo, the airport and the cemetery in Vale. Karlene has been a 4H leader, Pioneer Nursing Home board member and involved in the Vale Community Coalition.

The Kellers, who now farm in the Vale area, raised three sons, also graduates of Vale High.    

Gary Kamo and Joe Yraguen

Star athletes in their time as Vikings, the two were nominated for their longtime support of local youth, sports and officiating.

Both graduated from Vale High School in 1966, when they were members of the state champion football team. They went on to Treasure Valley Community College, playing for the Chukars, and then to four-year colleges for their degrees.

Kamo, who worked in the agriculture industry and with heavy equipment, was active in the Ore-Ida Judo Club, and attained black belt rank. In addition to competing, he taught youngsters judo skills. His experience in judo and as a college-level wrestler led him to officiate high school wrestling, traveling to tourneys throughout the Intermountain West.

Kamo died in April 2020.

Yraguen, who worked as a glazier and then at Kraft Ore-Ida Foods, began officiating baseball and football games and worked his way up – eventually officiating football in the Big Sky Conference and occasionally in other conferences, including the Pac 12.

The nomination form notes that he was voted into the Big Sky Conference Hall of Fame as a side judge from 1998 to 2009.

He died in November 2019.

John Kirby, who nominated the duo and was a classmate of theirs at TVCC, noted their pride in their Vale roots and the way they brought honor to the sports they loved.

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