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Hudson Benchwarmers honored by state

Hudson High School athletic director Stephanie DeVos, left, presents Hudson Benchwarmers president Beth Hommes with an award from the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association and the WIAA honoring the group for its outstanding support of the Raider football program. Photo by Bob Burrows

While the Raider football team recently wrapped up its best season in school history, a group behind the scenes has been honored by the state for its contributions to the team's success.

The Hudson Benchwarmers received the Wisconsin Athletic Service Award from the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association (WADA) and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association (WIAA) for its accomplishments and contributions to the Raider football program.

Hudson athletic director Stephanie DeVos nominated the group for the award and WADA selected the Benchwarmers as the recipients. DeVos presented Benchwarmers president Beth Hommes with the award last week and Hommes announced the honor at the Raider football banquet this past Monday at Kilkarney Hills Golf Club.

"Congratulations to the Benchwarmers for their outstanding service," DeVos said. "It's been an absolute pleasure working together with the Benchwarmers the past four years, as we all have the best interests of the students-athletes at heart."

All parents of Raider football players are members of the Benchwarmers. The group hosts a variety of events, many of which are planned during the summer months, and consists of volunteers serving on over 20 different committees.

Some of the events hosted by the Benchwarmers include a kick-off breakfast for the players, coaches, cheerleaders and their families at the start of the season, spaghetti dinners the evening before varsity games, a Homecoming Feast for the players after the Homecoming game, running the concession stand at home games, the annual golf tournament, Senior Night and Parents Night, field painting before each home game at Newton Field and hosting the team's web site.

"It takes all the parents to be involved and work together to make it a success," Hommes said. "We're all on the same page to help make it a great program.

Everybody works together to support the team and the coaches."

In addition to Hommes, other Benchwarmer officers include vice president Nikki Meyer, treasurer Barb Geissler, and secretary Karen Meinke.

Hommes said everyone associated with the group pitches in to coordinate things like pre and post-game meals, banners, clothing, and organizing busses to away games, to planning the annual banquet and choosing the group's annual scholarship winner.

Hommes said the group receives outstanding support from both the school district and community.

"It's so worth it when you see the kids on the field," she said. "We've had great support from Steph and (athletic secretary) Jane Branson at the high school, and the community support has been unbelievable."

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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