By Kaye Bennett
On March 22, at 6:30 p.m., in the Angels Crossing Clubhouse, four Vicksburg High School alumni will be inducted into the VHS Athletic Hall of Fame. Since 1987, this honor has recognized VHS alumni for their outstanding athletic achievements and contributions to sports, both while they were in school and in their lives since.
Tom Willmeng, Jeff Zonyk, Ed Knapp, Jon Kachniewicz and Paul Schutter reviewed nominations to decide who will be joining the select group. This year’s honorees are Bob Devers, Ann Maltby, Megan Brink Danielson, and Dale Simonton.
Sports have always been a big part of Devers’s life. He played softball, including in the Senior Olympics, which allowed him to play all over the country, until just a few years ago, and he remains an avid fan of Detroit teams. Devers and his wife Linda live in Battle Creek and have five children, 10 grandchildren and four (soon to be six) great-grandchildren.
Devers lost his father when he was 11, and he says that, without high school sports and the scholarship he earned from them, he could not have afforded to attend college; his college degree, in turn, helped him get his job as a police officer. Lessons he learned on his high school teams taught him about winning and losing.
Maltby continues to be involved with distance running and has run many marathons. In 2011, she and her family organized the Frostbite Run, a 5K race on the Vicksburg Trail, held each winter and benefitting the South County Community Services food bank.
Maltby says that her athletic experiences at VHS taught her how to be a good team player, how to be open-minded and how to work with different kinds of people. She appreciates the support she received from family (“My dad attended almost every single sporting event of my entire life,” she says), friends and coaches.
Danielson says that high school sports were fun for her, but that she always played to win. Athletics, she says, taught her how to work hard to reach a goal and the value of practicing. She credits sports with helping her develop her work ethic, and says that her father was a huge contributor to her athletic successes. “From T-ball to my last game at Ferris,” she recalls, “he was my coach all those years.”
Since retiring, Simonton has enjoyed riding motorcycles with his wife Donna and volunteering in Vicksburg’s Historical Village. Simonton and his wife live in Vicksburg, in the house where he grew up; they have two children and three grandchildren.
Simonton says that his high school sports experiences gave him self-confidence and made high school a lot of fun. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he says.