LHS Hall of Fame returns to honor five alumni

Five graduates of the Lebanon high school will be inducted into the Bud & Dorothy Page Lebanon High School Alumni Hall of Fame at 6 p.m. on Oct. 7 at Boulder Falls Event Center. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at RKI Insurance, 1175 S. Main St., or by visiting https://www.facebook.com/LebanonAlumni.

James Crumley

James Crumley, Class of 1968, was elected to the Hall of Fame athletics division for both his personal achievements as a high school and collegiate wrestler, and his positive impact on the young people he coached, many of whom faced serious challenges in their own lives.
Crumley won District 8-A1 championships his sophomore, junior and senior years, as well as the District Outstanding Wrestler title as a sophomore. As a senior, he went on to win the Oregon A1 State Championship. His record earned him a place on the USA All-Star Wrestling Cultural Exchange Team to Japan where he earned a perfect 9-0 record, including eight falls. At graduation he was honored with the Lebanon Union High School Outstanding Wrestler award.
Crumley enrolled at Oregon State University where he won three NCAA Pacific 8 wrestling tournament championships. He was a three-time All American for OSU in those years, one of only seven in Beaver wrestling history to ever achieve this.
In 1972 Crumley earned the second alternate position on the US Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling Team. In 1973 he represented OSU at the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic, and then went on to win a gold medal at the South Africa Games Wrestling Tournament.
Amateur Wrestling News named Crumley their First Team selection for the 1973 All-American Wrestling Team, and he was the subject of a Sports Illustrated article in March 1973. More recently, the Corvallis Gazette-Times named him to their OSU All-Time Wrestling Team, and in 2005 he was inducted into the OSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
As an assistant wrestling coach at OSU in the early 1980’s, Crumley was instrumental in saving wrestling and other athletic programs from elimination through his research and advocacy. He served as head coach of the USA Cadet Wrestling Team for the 1982 Pan-American Games, then went on to a career as a high school coach and official. He served as president of the Mid-Valley Officials’ Association from 1983-89. In addition, he worked with at-risk youths at the Children’s Farm Home, helping kids refocus and move onto a successful path.
According to his OSU teammate and fellow coach Jim Vandehey, “He went out of his way to choose work that faced many challenges, with the goal to help as many kids in his community as possible. Often, that was through his coaching and leadership in wrestling, but it also spread to other areas of his life.”

Warren Gill

Warren C. Gill, Class of 1930, will be awarded for an “extraordinary” record of humanitarian service to his country, state and community.
Before completing high school, Gill’s interest in the sea led him to sign on with a ship in Seattle and begin a 10-year period of intermittent training and work on steam ships. After completing both undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Oregon, as well as earning his Merchant Marine Seaman’s Certificate, Gill accepted a position with an Admiralty Law firm in New York. In this capacity he argued (and won) a case before the Supreme Court. During this time he also became Chairman of the New York Board of Trade Political Affairs Committee.
In January 1942, he enlisted in the US Coast Guard Reserve and was commissioned as an ensign. During the next few years he participated in several major Allied amphibious invasions, including Operation Torch, landing troops on a beach near Algiers, Algeria; Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily (for which he was awarded the Legion of Merit and promoted to lieutenant); and Operation Avalanche, the amphibious invasion of Italy, during which he was critically wounded in the chest and back.
He was given an emergency transfusion, but Gill refused to accept morphine so he could stay at his post to command his flotilla and give crucial instructions. As soon as he got word that all boats landed safely, Gill collapsed from his wounds. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his extraordinary heroism and leadership, one of only six Coast Guardsmen to receive this honor in World War II.
Following medical retirement from the Coast Guard, Gill returned to Lebanon to practice law. In 1949 he was elected to the Oregon State House of Representatives where he worked to get benefits for Oregon veterans. He was then elected to the Oregon Senate where he served two terms and continued to support World War II veterans and champion a bill eliminating a state ban on interracial marriage.
After losing the 1958 Republican nomination for governor to Mark Hatfield, Gill served as Lebanon’s city attorney for 18 years, secretary of the Lebanon Industrial Development Corporation, and secretary of Willamette Fiber and Chipboard Co. He also chaired the Oregon State Marine Board, and was instrumental in the development and construction of Gill’s Landing.
In 1981 Gill was named Linn County Veteran of the Year, of which he said was his “greatest honor.” In 2022, the United States Coast Guard Academy inducted Warren Gill into the Wall of Gallantry for his heroic actions in World War II.

Laura Gillott

Laura Gillott, Class of 1987, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the business/professional category for her accomplishments in the field of real estate, and her support for schools, events, projects and causes in Lebanon and the Mid-Valley.
Gillott began her career more than 30 years ago as a real estate agent, then earned a broker license and established her broker-owned franchise of Keller Williams Realty, which has since expanded to a team of more than 25 agents, brokers and other real estate professionals. Her agency achieved awards and recognition regionally, statewide and nationally. Some of those accolades include recognition by Keller Williams as one of America’s top agents with over $1 billion in sales and one of the top 100 most influential real estate agents in the nation.
Locally, Gillott won the Corporate Hero Award and has been named Woman of the Year, Business Leader of the Year and Realtor of the Year. Her professional leadership has been recognized, as well.
According to John Vander Gheynst, executive performance coach for Keller Williams, “Her team is consistently one of the top teams in the entire Pacific Northwest and she is a role model for business building within the entire ecosystem of Keller Williams International. Her team is consistently within the top 100 teams of Keller Williams, achieving the prestigious title of ‘Gary’s Top 100’ (for Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller Williams),” earning Laura an invitation to attend quarterly “Mastermind Rooms” with other top agents from around the country to discuss ways to improve the industry.
Randy Dobson, a broker and member of Gillott’s team, believes the key to her leadership is her personal example of continual learning. She models the importance of professional growth in a rapidly changing business by taking every opportunity to learn new technologies and techniques from industry leaders, some of whom are half her age.
Gillott’s commitment to her community is a key factor that sets her apart. According to Kraig Hoene, LHS athletic director, “One of the most impressive things about Laura and her team is their willingness to go above and beyond for our community,” donating funds, volunteering time and “often taking on the role of facilitator to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
Among the many causes she supports through sponsorships and volunteering are Lebanon schools, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Greater Santiam, ABC House, Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence, Lebanon Booster Club, Strawberry Festival and Foundation, Lebanon Chamber of Commerce Cornerstone Partner, Community Chorus, Habitat for Humanity, Children’s Farm Home, Read Across America, and more. Gillott also sponsored the city’s first dog park.
Randy Joss, account executive for KEZI, explained one of the ways Gillott supports not-for-profit organizations is by paying to market their fund-raising events.

June Johnson

June Christine Johnson, Class of 1984, was elected for her humanitarian service and unwavering dedication to serving the medical, emotional and spiritual needs of the Ukrainian people. This year marks her 25th year as a medical missionary in Ukraine, and, despite two forced evacuations in the face of advancing Russian troops, she continues to serve disabled Ukrainians in exile in Germany.
Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Pacific Lutheran University, followed by advanced training in wound and ostomy care at Emory University in Atlanta. She also volunteered at Easter Seal and Young Life camps. Those experiences proved valuable when she became a medical missionary following a visit to the Ukraine in 1988.
For the next 15 years, Johnson worked as a nurse in the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine, serving in villages and church-sponsored free clinics. She earned a reputation as a skilled wound healer and was invited to present workshops to medical students at Christian medical conferences. At the same time, she began a ministry in children’s and family camps.
When Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, Johnson was relocated to a suburb near Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. In her home church there, she witnessed the needs of families with special needs children and began a ministry to serve them, focusing on social and emotional support for the whole family, as well as basic needs for those often impoverished families.
Johnson began by working with a small number of local families, then spread nationwide when she partnered with the international organization Joni & Friends, founded by Joni Erickson Tada. With the overriding goal of serving the needs of the whole family, Johnson established family camps, seeking both funding and medical resources so disabled children and their families were able to attend. For many children and their families, this was the highlight of their year, and for some it was life-changing.
Johnson’s work was again interrupted in February 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Many of the disabled Ukrainians were evacuated to a Christian retreat center in Germany where Johnson continued to help heal wounds and provide emotional support to those who lost homes, culture and loved ones, and help translate medical needs to German physicians.
As Johnson said, “As I have shared before, due to physical abnormalities, I should have died the day I was born. Technically, medically, I should not be here. Before I was born, God had an out-of-proportion plan for my life, as He does for each of us. ‘Disproportionate’ – this word describes my past 58 years. Why? Because the outcome is extreme compared to the beginning. What was there was all so insufficient compared to what it has become.”

Lamont Simons

Lamont Simons, Class of 1962, will be awarded for his career in athletics as a high school wrestling coach and for his leadership in athletic programs.
Simons wrestled for Lebanon Union High School under Coach Dick Weisbrodt, placing second in the state tournament his senior year. He went on to wrestle at Oregon College of Education (now Western Oregon University), where he was a three-time NAIA Conference Champion. He qualified for the national tournament all three times, but was only able to compete once due to a lack of funds.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in education with specialties in health and physical education in 1968, Simons began a teaching and coaching career at Woodburn High School where his teams won the state championship two of the three years he was there. He was named State Wrestling Coach of the Year, and, more than 50 years later, former students and athletes still remember him as a great teacher and coach.
In 1971, Simons started a wrestling program at South Albany High School and remained there for 27 years as a teacher, coach and dean of students. His leadership skills emerged as he became “the driving force behind getting the sports programs at South Albany started,” according to Brent Belveal, now-retired South Albany principal. “He demonstrated how it had to be done by developing youth programs, engaging parents and the community, and raising a small fortune to help his student athletes.”
Simons created a culture of love and support for his students and athletes. If he heard a student needed something – lunch money, shoes, workout gear, PE clothes – he saw to it those things “magically appeared.” He was again named State Coach of the Year while at South Albany.
Simons also worked with the Oregon Cultural Exchange program, which gives top high school wrestlers an opportunity to compete in a foreign country and host foreign teams in Oregon. During his career, Simons coached 14 individual state champions and two state championship teams. He was inducted into the Oregon chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2000, and the South Albany High School Hall of Fame in 2012.
Belveal described Simons as “the man who used teaching and the sport of wrestling to change the world – one student at a time,” and that man continues to volunteer as a wrestling coach for his son, Mike, who’s head wrestling coach at Thurston High School in Eugene.