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New sports HOF made in Mifflin County

LEWISTOWN – After unsuccessful attempts to create a sports hall of fame in the past in Mifflin County, a new project resulted in the successful creation of a Mifflin County Sports Hall of Fame.

The idea stemmed from a text conversation in November of 2019 between former Sentinel sportswriter Greg Williams and Mifflin County Commissioner Kevin Kodish. Those two, along with Brian Heckert and Jon Zimmerman came together to assemble a group of founding members. Those four, along with Joel Diamond, Cher Harpster, Dave Semler, Tim Searer and Tona Williams made up the hall’s board of directors.

Weeks of virtual meetings concluded with the creation of the chapter’s bylaws in late June. Zimmerman will serve as the hall’s first president, with Searer serving as the vice president. Williams will serve as treasurer.

“Mifflin County has a glorious history of sports accomplishments,” Zimmerman said. “Here is your opportunity to help honor and remember the individuals, teams, coaches, writers and broadcasters, who have made this happen and let’s have some fun doing it. The Mifflin County Sports Hall of Fame is the newest chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and with your help, we’ll make it the best in the state.”

The hall of fame’s membership drive kicked off last week. The hall is actively seeking members to nominate and vote on athletes to be inducted into the sports hall of fame. Members will have the opportunity to be included in the annual induction process and may also participate on committees and attend the annual induction banquet. Dues are $25 and members must join by Nov. 15 in order to vote on the inaugural class.

Greg Williams said that the idea revolved around his time spent in journalism and that the hall will serve as a positive way to recognize and preserve the achievements of Mifflin County athletes. Williams served as sportswriter at The Sentinel from 1991-1999.

“I love sports history, I love memorabilia, and I thought with my connections over the years, that it has been a rewarding project to help out with,” Williams said. “To have a group come together like this has been great to work with. The other eight are in Mifflin County and I’m in the suburbs of Philadelphia. We have a really balanced group to build this hall, whether it’s a website or an actual display as well. We had a lot of people from different walks of life to make this come together.”

The hall of fame’s inaugural induction banquet is planned for April of 2021. The group plans to have a kickoff event sometime in September. The nomination process will begin at the end of 2020 and the first class will be voted on at the beginning of 2021.

In order to be eligible for the hall of fame, the nominee needs to be a current or former resident of Mifflin County, has to be inactive in the sport for a period of three years, or has to have been involved in the sport for 20 years, or attained the age of 55 years. A deceased nominee is eligible for induction one year after their death, according to Greg Williams.

The board of directors can nominate teams , and can name two at-large special inductees each year. Teams should not be considered for induction until 10 years after its achievements, according to Greg Williams.

The board will mail or email the members to vote on the ballot. While there is currently no set number of inductees per class, most chapters induct 7-10 members per year, Greg Williams said.

“I think membership is important and it is rewarding for people,” Williams said. “It’s like anything, you can be as involved as you want. We’d love people to be a part of our committees, but if you just want to make a donation or support us, that’s fine too. You can make the experience what you will.”

Kodish said the focus was on doing things correctly in order to have a successful hall of fame for years to come.

“It’s taken many years to get to this point, so we want to make sure this is done the right way,” Kodish said. “The storied athletes that have competed over the years in Mifflin County sports history deserve the best.”

Individuals who would like to receive membership information or contribute – either monetary or memorabilia – to the hall of fame or should contact Greg Williams at 267-290-2985 or email MifflinCountySportsHOF@outlook.com.

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