The Hillsboro Chapter of Modern Woodmen recently honored McClain High School graduates Joe Stewart and John Wilson as their 2022 Modern Woodmen Hometown Heroes. A dinner was held on Oct. 11 at The Alley Grille Restaurant to present the awards.
Chapter coordinator and fellow McClain graduate Bev Mayo had this to say as she presented the award. “We are so pleased to honor these two outstanding men as Hometown Heroes, Joe Stewart, a retired teacher and one of the best basketball coaches ever, and master sergeant John Wilson, military science instructor at McClain High School. They have both worked tirelessly to help the kids in Greenfield become not just better students and sports players, but better citizens of the community. We’re also honored to have McClain Principal Matt Shelton and vice principal Randy Closson with us.
“Both Joe and John are honorable men and men of principle. Joe is an extremely talented coach, but not just in the fundamentals. Lots of people can coach, but he made every game, win or lose, a teaching moment. He was always teaching the team to be better players, better students, better men. He set an example and taught them to stay positive and to stay in the game, regardless of the score. He made his players better because he made them believe they could overcome nearly any obstacle. His positive attitude and encouragement helped McClain’s 2021-22 high school basketball team to become the district champions. We hated to see him retire, and he certainly has left big shoes to fill.
“I haven’t known John personally as long as I have Joe, but I certainly do respect and admire what he does as the leader of the McClain Cadet Corps,” Bev Mayo continued. “He has also helped so many students gain confidence and provide thousands of hours in service to many communities. He gives above and beyond to set an example, and he expects his students to follow high standards of conduct. Several have already joined the military, and some are preparing to serve as officers when they join. In March of 2020, we were able to see the cadets perform full military rights at a funeral in South Salem that Dan was officiating for the husband of a good friend of ours. To say we were stunned at the professional way they performed is putting it mildly.
“Both Joe and John love their families, friends, community and country. They have both helped positively influence so many young people. They make a difference and that’s something we should all try to do — make a difference, be a friend, live an honorable life. To sum up both men:
“If they give you their word, you can count on it. They’re not afraid to stand up for what is right. They live by the same standards they expect from others. They believe in transparency. They give credit where credit is due. They take ownership of their mistakes. They are trustworthy.”
Modern Woodmen gives its Hometown Heroes an opportunity to donate $100 to the charity of their choice. Stewart and Wilson both chose the McClain Cadet Corps as the charity to receive the donation.
Founded in 1883 as a fraternal benefit society, Modern Woodmen of America offers financial services and fraternal member benefits to individuals and families throughout the United States.
Submitted by Dan Mayo.