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Delphos St John

2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

An Insight on Ken Burgei...

Growing up at Delphos Saint John’s, Ken Burgei was exceedingly as well as exceptionally involved in the sport of basketball. Whether it was on the court or in the classroom, Burgei put one-hundred-percent effort into everything he did. 


Graduating in 1968, Ken attended Findlay College where he pursued and received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Science Education as well as a Physical/Health degree in 1972.  Burgei credits his family and Saint John’s for helping him to strive toward his goals and achieve them.  “I was fortunate to have been taught proper work ethic by my parents and St. John’s.  


Advancing on in his career, Burgei attained a Master’s degree in School Counseling from the University of Toledo in 1985.


After achieving all the degree’s Ken aspired for, he moved back to Delphos to teach at St. John’s, becoming a High School Biology and Physiology teacher.  Outside of regular school hours, Ken was also still involved in sports, being the assistant coach for both basketball and football.  Burgei found Coach Arnzen to be a substantial and significant influence in his life as a person, athlete, and later as a Coach and Guidance Counselor. 


Leaving St. John’s in 1983, Burgei joined the Wauseon High School to be a Guidance Counselor, Physical Education Teacher, and Head Basketball Coach.  There Ken worked for an accumulation of 30 years, 26 of those years he was the Head Basketball Coach.  


While at Wauseon, the Indians had won 5 NWOAL (NorthWest Ohio Athletic League) Championships, 9 Sectional Championships, and were even the District and Regional Champions in 1994, becoming State runner-ups that same year. Burgei was named NorthWest District Coach of the year 7 times and State Coach of the year in 1994.  He concluded his career coaching record at Wauseon with a win-loss record of 322-242.


“When I got the Head Coach position at Wauseon, Coach Arnzen told me: “Ken, be yourself, be Ken Burgei, not Bob Arnzen”.  That was great advice, but completely impossible to achieve.  Coach Arnzen had so many great traits and characteristics both as a person and a coach.  After playing for him and working for him and working with him for 11 years, I found myself automatically emulating his style.  Coach Arnzen was a huge part of the success I had with the Wauseon Indians”.


Burgei also had served as an officer with the District 7 Coaches, Association as well as District Director to the State Basketball Coaches Association for 20 years.  Even with all of Burgei’s success at Wauseon, Ken is most proud of the “Bob Arnzen Longevity Award” given for coaching at the same school for over 20 years.  


Ken finds it so humbling to be honored with the Athletic Achievement award for the St. John’s Hall of Fame.  “It’s a great honor for me to see my name next to the many role models from this school that influenced me and made my career.”      


In 1975, Ken married Connie Pohlman (Class of 1971) and was blessed to have two incredible children, Chris and Kelly. Today Ken Burgei is a grandfather to three beautiful grandchildren, Emmy, Owen, and Preston Burgei and couldn’t be happier!  


                                                                      (Article written by Nicole Pohlman)

An Insight on Duane Pohlman...

In Delphos, the Pohlman last name is a name so commonly heard, but no Pohlman is as recognizable in the community as Duane Pohlman.  Whether you know him from his time in Delphos or whether you know him from on-screen television, Pohlman was always set on his goals and did whatever he could to achieve them.  By doing so, Duane had made a name for himself in his career, becoming an investigative journalist, television anchor, and receiving various esteemed awards.


Graduating from St. John’s in 1982, Duane started the next chapter of his life, pursuing a career in journalism.  Attending Bowling Green State University, Pohlman graduated years later, in 1987, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. 


Pohlman’s parents are Patricia “Pat” and Gilbert “Gip” Pohlman.  His father Gip is a DSJ Hall of Fame Inductee as well, receiving the Service to St. John’s title in 2006.  Pat and Gip were integral to Duane’s life growing up, setting an example he wished to follow from an early age.  Another former DSJ Hall of Fame Inductee who impacted Duane’s life was former television programming high school teacher John Gunder. Gunder was awarded Service to St. John’s in 2014.  Being a part of this television programming class is what inspired Duane to chase his dream of a potential future in journalism.


Over the next three decades , Pohlman took off in his career, speaking on several serious as well as severe topics.  Some of these news subjects reported being about government corruption, nuclear security violations, white supremacist groups resurging, stolen babies in Central America, death threats due to arsenic-treated wood, as well as numerous wrongful convictions and illegalities.  Duane spoke up and saw change with his words as he began to spread the news to those who were unaware.  Also, among all this already, Duane documented the “Operation Desert Storm” crisis in Saudi Arabia.  Covering the war from the front lines, Pohlman joined forces with the army forces patrolling the Zone of Separation. 


Duane would later move on to receive hundreds of awards in recognition for all he’s done in the television and journalism industry.  Some of these awards being Emmys, Edward R. Murrows, as well as first place achievements from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Associated Press (AP), National Headliner and American Humane Society, and even the states of Washington and Ohio Trial Attorneys’ top reporter honors.  Pohlman has been named Reporter of the Year six times in three states, including four times in Ohio.


Mr. Pohlman has also served as Board Member and Vice President of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Board Member and Treasurer for the Lower Great Lakes Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts and Science (NATAS), and President of the Board/founding member of the Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism.


Being a Pohlman intrigued in journalism myself, Duane has been a huge inspiration in my life.  When people ask me what I wish to pursue after high school and I respond with journalism, everyone in the city of Delphos always mentions Duane Pohlman.  


Duane had made a name for himself with his career.  Starting in the small town of Delphos, Duane reached for the stars, and ended up becoming one in the process.    


                                                                 (Article Written by: Nicole Pohlman)

An Insight on Dorothy Fisher...

As the eldest of five children, I was always the “trailblazer” in the family, and choosing a lifework was no exception.  My mother had been a teacher, my Aunt Lucille was a teacher, their two sisters (who were Precious Blood Nuns) were high school teachers, and my dad was a school bus driver.  Why wouldn’t I be influenced by all the “teacher talk” I heard?  In addition, my paternal grandmother was a very religious lady who attended daily Mass and literally showed me the importance of religion in my life.  The dice was cast; I wanted to be a teacher, a teacher who taught religion as part of my school day.  


After earning my education degree from the former Mary Manse College in Toledo, I spent 5 years teaching kindergarten in Fort Jennings.  Then, in 1970, I heard about a position open at St. John’s Elementary.  I applied for the job and was accepted to teach Grade 6 at St. John’s.  I had become a Blue Jay!


My job at the St. John’s campus kept me very busy and I found myself wearing many hats.  Not only did I teach children but I got involved in adult education as well, the RCIA, the Confirmation Team, and Faith Search.  In 1980 I was asked to become a pastoral associate at St. John’s, becoming the only lay person on the core staff of the parish.  This was a learning experience for me as I was involved in parish responsibilities and decision-making, many involving teaching.  At this point I earned my Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Dayton and wrote a book to clarify some of the workings of the parish.  


But the smell of chalk-dust was still beckoning and in 1983 I accepted the position of Senior Religion Teacher and subsequently became the head of the Religious Department until I retired in 1995.  I had found my niche.  I taught Church History and Lifestyles to Seniors and supervised retreats and a myriad of religious programs.  It was a great joy and quite interesting to interact with the Seniors from whom I received respect, cooperation, and lots of questions.  We had an open line of communication with each other.  I received much support from my fellow teachers, the Sisters of Notre Dame, my husband Ken (now deceased), and my six children who were supportive as well.  It was a dream come true for me!


It has always been my belief that to be effective, we need to meet students where they are.  For some reason I was constantly being nagged by the thought that we were not doing enough to help students actually become involved in the Church, especially in Mass.  They were spectators but not participants.


I have always followed a quote which says, “If it’s God’s work it will continue; if not, it will fall by the wayside.”  With that in mind, our religious department formed a Student Liturgy Team, who, with our help, planned all student Masses, and recruited students for all the liturgical ministries.  Sister Valerie handled the music and started the “Jesus Crew”, a musical group.  Judy Fischer, Annie Tuohy and I trained the others.  At one point the students took full responsibility for the 11:30 a.m Mass one Sunday per month.  It was working.  The students were happy to be involved.  


The final piece of the plan fell into place when we received permission from the pastor and the Diocese for the Seniors to become Eucharistic Ministers, a very special and awesome privilege.  For the past several years now, the high school students have been invited to volunteer with the adults for all liturgical ministries and at present they make up almost 50% of all those volunteers at weekend Masses.  You may have observed them reverently and prayerfully carrying out their responsibilities.


Our parish community has been enriched by the inclusion of the students and the students have been blessed for their efforts to become a vital part of the worshipping community at St. John’s.  May they continue to serve wherever they go.  “If it’s God’s work, it will continue; if not, it will fall by the wayside.”       


                                                (Typed up by Nicole Pohlman.  Written by Dorothy Fisher)

An Insight on Father Bob Holden...

Growing up, Bob Holden was the middle child of five children to parents John and Marcella Holden.  Coming from a firm foundation of a Christian-Catholic upbringing, his parents enrolled him at Delphos Saint John’s from a very early age.  Never did he imagine or predict himself to become a priest, but one day, Bob felt his calling with the faith.  Receiving gentle guidance and grace from above, Holden knew his vocation.  What confirmed his thoughts on priesthood was the fellow priests and nuns at St. John’s who gave him proper direction into the ways of faith.  


Personally, one of the biggest influences in his faith was Sr. Marcella who, every time she crossed paths with Holden, would say “I’m praying for you”.  Other role models who impacted his life were St. John’s priests: Ottenweller, Herr, Quenneville, Kuhn, Gormon, and many others.  Bob found their spirits to be contagious and their look upon life desirable.  Father Herr would pick Bob up every Saturday at 6:00 to just drive around and talk about life.  Oftentimes, Fr. Herr would assign Bob a book to read so the next week, when he picked Bob up, they could discuss it together on the drive.  Holden also, with the help of Fr. Ottenweller visited various migrant camps, teaching God’s grace and caring for migrant workers and their families.  


Enrolling into the seminary after graduation, Bob spent two years at St. Meinrad and six years at Mount St. Mary’s.  Encouraged by Fr. Herr, Holden also attended a summer school at Catholic University in Washington, D.C, to help expand his horizons outside of the small circle of Delphos.  Bob attended Catholic University in the summers of 1954 and 1956.


Holden was ordained in 1962, during the time of the Vatican II.  He recalls that Vatican II brought awareness to Catholicism and that he saw people alive in the Spirit.  Bob was excited to spread the message of Christ, and being an ambitious, new priest who couldn’t wait to preach, he was more than excited for his future.  But, after becoming a priest, Holden wasn’t allowed to jump right into Masses, for he had to watch and learn from other priests for about a year.  That first year of his priestly ordination, Holden only served one mass, and during his second year, he only served for a five month increment of time.  Once Bob settled into the priesthood, he was able to serve more and more, and he did so for forty years.  Fr. Holden served in parishes in Van Wert, Bowling Green, Tiffin, Toledo, Vermillion, Swanton, and Wauseon.  Bob's longest time as a pastor was at Wauseon St. Caspar where he had served for fifteen years before retiring in 2007.


Even though Bob is retired, he still keeps himself busy by volunteering in the Diocese of Toledo, assisting parishes whenever a pastor is away from the parish.  Reflecting on God and the wondrous life that was given to him, Bob is filled with gratitude for all the gifts he’s been given throughout this magical journey of life.


                                                                   (Article Written by Nicole Pohlman)
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