The Sedro-Woolley School District recognized four community members for their contributions during the annual Community Recognition Ceremony on April 18 according to a news release.
Past recipients helped make the final decision about who received the recognition in each of the categories: Memorial, Athletic, District, and Community.
Dennis “Wayne” Cole received the Memorial Award. He graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School with the Class of 1966. While a student, he played on the varsity football and baseball teams, in addition to participating in band. Cole earned a football scholarship to Columbia Basin Jr. College and achieved co-champions status that year. He was inducted into the US Army on February 9, 1967 and was deployed to South Vietnam. Sadly, on August 27, 1967, Cole stepped on a mine and was killed in action.
Cameron Cleeland received the Hall of Fame Athletic Award. Cleeland was born and raised in Big Lake and graduated with the Class of 1993 from Sedro-Woolley High School. He was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball and was selected to 1st Team NW League and 1st Team All-State in all 3 sports. He accepted a scholarship to the University of Washington where he played tight end on the football team and first base/right field on the baseball team. He earned 1st Team All-Pac-10 and 2nd Team All American honors while also earning a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice. Cam was taken as the 40th pick in the 1998 NFL draft and then spent time playing for New Orleans, New England, and with the St. Louis Rams ending his football career in 2006. Cam is now a morning drive sports talk host as part of the Radio 1080 The Fan “Dusty and Cam in the Morning” in Portland.
Mark Venn received the District Award. Venn was raised on the Venn Family dairy farm in the Snoqualmie Valley graduating from Mount Si High School with the Class of 1968. While in high school he participated in football, basketball, and track and was class president. Venn then attended Western Washington State College (now WWU) and earned his bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate with majors in history, physical education and a minor in Political Science. While at college he played football for four years receiving many athletic honors. Venn then spent 37 years in education as a teacher, coach, high school assistant principal, CTE director, athletic director, principal, assistant superintendent ending with superintendent of Sedro-Woolley schools. Venn and his wife Sue continue to live and support the Sedro-Woolley community while enjoying worldwide travel excursions. Venn currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Northwest Educational Service District.
Dick Straathof received the Community Award. Straathof moved to Clear Lake during his middle school years and then graduated from SWHS with the Class of 1968. He worked at Vern Sims Ford starting in 1971 and went on to manage the RV Department, was promoted to Service Manager in 1980 and retired in 2003. He then started his own contracting business which he continues today. Straathof and Don Wick started the coed-softball league in Skagit County, and was involved with the Skagit Valley Raiders, a semi-pro foot team. After a time, he hung up his cleats except for officiating high school games until 1995. Dick has worked on many projects in and around the city and received a Paul Harris fellow award from Rotary.