Woodstone Senior Living of Rice Lake is blessed to have one of only 4 people in the state of Wisconsin to receive the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Courage Award. Gary will be receiving his award on April 12th, 2015 in Menomonie, WI.
Gary was a high school wrestler in Pulaski, WI for three year and attended final year in Barron, WI. He carried a record of 87-12 through his career, wrestling in the 98 and 119 pound weight classes. Gary qualified for state twice, once in Pulaski and once in Barron, with his senior year in Barron being his greatest accomplishment where he finished 5th in the state. When asked what his keys to success were, Gary stated hard work and dedication. On the wrestling mat Gary was very quick and strong, he had taken up weightlifting to strengthen his body.
After graduating college Gary became an English teacher at Rice Lake High School, where he was named the head wrestling coach as well. He even had to coach a match against his dad and younger brother (dad and brother won that night). Gary lists his dad as his greatest mentor. Wanting to still support the Rice Lake Wrestling program, Gary attends all of their home matches.
So what makes Gary so Courageous?
On August 16th, 1984 he was painting a barn and the ladder he was on gave way and he fell. Gary ended up with a traumatic brain injury and in a coma for 4-6 months, with the last few months were in and out of his coma.
The Award is given for continuing to give back. contribute to support groups, and in his writings. Gary teaches classes on brain injuries as well as leads/participates in support groups.
I asked Gary what motivates him he says family and religion are to things that he finds hope, and strength in. Gary continues to write on a daily basis, having a few articles that have opened doors for him to give speeches in schools to elementary kids.
Gary was asked what goals he has for himself. They were very simple he wants to walk better than he does, remember things better, and to do more writing.
Well Gary, if you stay motivated like you are now, and with the help of your family and friends, you can accomplish anything you want!!
We will be watching for you to do great things!!!
Congratulations on the Courage Award Gary!!! Your Woodstone family is so proud of you!! We can’t wait to read your next article.