Friends, family and residents gathered in front of Weyburn City Hall for the induction of Graham DeLaet and Kathryn Groshong to the City’s Walk of Fame, both in the category of athletics and recreation.
Coun. Dick Michel, chair of the Walk of Fame, was the emcee for the event, with greetings by Mayor Marcel Roy, and introductions by committee member Kathy Coroluick.
DeLaet was not able to be present, as he had a charity golf tournament in Idaho on Sunday, so friend Marshall Bakken spoke on his behalf and read Graham’s message, speaking fondly of his growing-up years in Weyburn.
“When I think back to my childhood in Weyburn, golf is not the only thing that comes to mind. Playing baseball for Eugene Emberley is a great memory. I loved hockey and we had some great teams through the years. I remember Norm Cross pushing to get the best out of each of us. I think of Len Williams at the Comp, telling me I could do great things and to keep on chasing it,” said DeLaet.
He added that he believes we are each a product of our environment, and said he’s very proud of where he came from, including the opportunities he had to learn the game he is now a professional player at.
“Not many kids have access to play golf every single day of the summer, and most days I played 36 to 54 holes. The Weyburn Golf Course also set me up for success, playing tiny turtleback green every day in heavy winds taught me the importance of flighting my ball and controlling my spin, and how to properly play the game,” he said, noting he played many games with his parents, Norm and Marilyn, and with his friends.
As a PGA member since 2010, DeLaet has played in close to 300 professional events, and has played all over the world on every continent except Antarctica. He was introduced on the first tee of every event as hailing from Weyburn, Sask., “and that was something that me very proud. I’ve had so much support from everyone in Weyburn, in Saskatchewan and all across Canada.”
Some of the events he’s played include representing Canada at the Olympic Summer Games in Rio in 2016, as well as playing in the World Cup of Golf and the President’s Cup.
The “hard-working blue-collar mentality” growing up in Weyburn has stuck with him in his life, and he is now trying to instill this ethic in his twin children, Roscoe and Lila.
Groshong was present for the induction ceremony, along with three of her children and grandchildren, and spoke of how she came to be a medal-winning swimmer at age 70.
Living in Oungre, she taught herself to swim in the Long Creek swimming hole at the age of eight, but it wasn’t until 1996 for the Senior Summer Games that she decided to enter an event as a swimmer, “why, I’ll never know, but I know whenever I was in the water, I felt good.”
After taking part in this event, she was called to attend the provincial senior games in Swift Current, in the 70-75 age category. She decided she needed to learn more strokes, and went to the indoor pool at Oungre Memorial Regional Park where two lifeguards taught her other strokes, including the backstroke.
Kathryn won two bronze medals at the provincials, and this encouraged her to stay with swimming as a sport.
She and husband Fred moved to Weyburn in 1999, and she took part in the provincial senior summer games when they came to Weyburn in 2000. She practiced extensively at the Weyburn Leisure Centre pool, and in the Games she won three silver medals.
“The Leisure Centre is perfect for swimming, and I still go over there at my age of 95 and do some laps every week,” said Kathryn.
She went on to win provincial gold medals in 2004, and this qualified her for the national senior games in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she won two gold medals. She also competed in the national games in Portage La Prairie, Man., in 2006, and again in 2014 in Sherwood Park, Alta., where her son Willis lives.
“In that one, I was up to 88 years, and my son Willis and his wife were a big help to me,” she said, noting that a few years prior to this event she had broken her arm, and it took a long time for her to rehabilitate the use of her arm again.
“Winning medals has been just great. Really the greatest value for me is how much it’s helped me with my arthritis and my mobility. It’s a pleasure for me to go swimming, and get all that exercise. I think it really helps as you get older,” she said.