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(1-14-18) Last night had some very  special ingredients that turned a high school basketball game in to a night to remember. The ‘Longest Day’ honored former Ft. Recovery Coach Al Souder, who is now in a battle with Alzheimer. Tom Souder, the coach’s son and current head coach of Worthington Kilbourne, was able to participate with his alma mater in the fundraiser.   It was three communities (Paulding, too) working together to promote more than a basketball game, it was the future seeing what the past meant to so many people. It was a special night in Ft. Recovery and it was celebrated like a win by all of those involved in the planning.

Ft. Recovery Athletic Director Kurt Rammel:

It is truly amazing to see what communities can do when they come together for a great cause. Al Souder has done so much for Fort Recovery athletics, the school, and community. He put Fort Recovery on the map and brought the Indian basketball program to statewide recognition. Souder and his teams set the foundation for Indian basketball today. The Souder family will always have a special place in Fort Recovery history and it was only fitting to honor their family for all they have done.

You can tell what type of family they are when not only the 2 communities competing last night help raise awareness to Alzheimer’s but the Pauling community, who knew their family as well, came down to be a part of the evening.

I owe many thanks to the people who made this evening special. I know the Souder family will want to thank all of us but the gratitude should be given to them. They are an amazing family and impacted so many people as you can see by the $8,000 raised.

To the family of Al Souder, it was an honor to be a part of this event and be able to acknowledge all you meant to the Worthington Kilbourne, Fort Recovery and Paulding families.

As Tom said in his speech, Fort Recovery is home but last night home consisted of 3 communities becoming one big family.

Fans did not have to pay to enter the game, just a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, when the night was done $8,000 was raised. It turned into a special night and shows what active communities can do through its school and high school sports.

OHSAA Director of Sport Management Jerry Snodgrass

Last night’s game epitomizes what high school sports are about. While so much focus centers on the next all-American, with nearly 98% of high school athletes playing for the love of the game and to represent their communities. Before the same, 50+ players were together on the court and witnessed the reason why a big Columbus school would travel to the edge of a state to play a small school team was more important than a final score. Every player played to win but gained far more than a “W” or “L” on their record.

We owe much to those that paved the way for today’s players and it was rewarding to be part of a night that not only honored a great coach but honored a person and dedicated a night to a much bigger societal issue.

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This night set an example to other high school programs around Ohio. To accomplish what took place last night you need a supportive administration that is well led from the bottom up. That includes the Superintendent, Athletic Director, staff members and community volunteers. Ft. Recovery has taught their students some very valuable life lessons that will help them as they continue down future paths they will face in life.

Ft. Recovery Superintendent Justin Firks:

‘On Saturday, January 13, 2018, the Fort Recovery Indians hosted the Worthington Kilbourne Wolves in a varsity boys basketball game at the Fort Site Fieldhouse. But, this game was much more than just two teams competing on the hardwood. Tonight, we celebrated the career and the impact that Coach Al Souder has had as a husband, father, teacher, mentor and coach. Coach Souder embodies what it means to play and coach for Fort Recovery: toughness, accountability, having a great work ethic, a relationship builder, being a person of great integrity and he demanded your very best at all times! Coach Souder created a standard of excellence during his time at Fort Recovery for the boys basketball program.

It was an honor and a privilege to welcome back Coach Al Souder and his family last evening to Fort Recovery. He has done much more for Fort Recovery than what we could ever do to say thank you. Congratulations to Coach Souder, his family and we want you to always know that ‘Once an Indian, Always an Indian!’

The final score of the game was Kilbourne 55 Ft. Recovery 54, but despite the score last night there were no losers.

Well Done