Trio of legends inducted into Prescott Hall of Fame
PRESCOTT - The Prescott Hall of Fame grew by three new members after the annual induction ceremony Saturday night.
The Prescott High School Commons took on a new look with white tablecloths and tables adorned with flowers and candles. About 100 people were on hand for the induction of a prestigious Class of 2021, featuring Roy Finley, Char Magee and Nick Schommer.
Finley passed away in 2005, and his son, Dave, accepted on his behalf. Finley had a lifetime of service to the community, serving two terms as Prescott mayor, as well as being a former fire chief. He was a member of the city Plan Commission, the Prescott School Board and was a leader on the Mississippi River Commission.
He also was a member of the Northeastern Masonic Lodge for 75 years and St. Croix Valley Shrine Club for 60 years.
Finley worked hard for the development of Wisconsin’s Great River Road, which was his lifelong passion. The street that enters the Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center grounds is named Roy Finley Avenue in his honor.
“The world is vastly different today from the one that my father encountered, but some things have remained the same,” said Dave Finley. “Education and public service, my father believed were the key.
“Education is so important for today’s children, just as it was for him. My father knew this. He knew his children, and his children’s children and now his children’s children’s children need to have a strong supportive education. That was always his goal,” said Finley. “My father believed education was the best gift you could give. It’s the great equalizer. With a great education, anybody can achieve anything in life.”
Finley recalls asking his dad why he went to so many meetings when he arrived home late one night.
“He just shrugged and said he was supposed to,” said Finley “My father never saw public service as a chore or something that should be rewarded. He saw it as a gift and a responsibility. He never bragged about all the things he did on these committees that he served. He was the quiet leader.”
Char Magee retired from the insurance business in Prescott last year. She was a passionate volunteer, leader and advocate who dedicated countless hours to projects and organizations that shaped Prescott. Magee was the driving force behind Prescott Daze for more than 15 years, and she helped organize the Secret Santa program to support families in need for more than two decades. She held leadership positions on the Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis and Friends of Freedom Park boards.
Friend Rick Allen introduced Magee.
“If you’ve ever done any kind of volunteering in Prescott, you most likely have rubbed elbows with Char, not just once or twice but possibly three times a day,” said Allen. “From an 8 a.m. Prescott Chamber meeting to a noon Kiwanis meeting to an evening Prescott Daze meeting, you can pretty much know Char will be there planning the event.
“She’s a leader in the truest sense of the word. She never shied away from the tougher leadership functions. She’s a great example of a truly selfless leader.”
Magee was humble in accepting the award.
“I just want to say thank you for my nomination,” she said. “I am honored.”
She credited the resumes of the other inductees.
“Nick, I don’t know you personally, but I know your family and that speaks for itself. We’ve loved watching you. You’ve had a really successful career,” said Magee. “And I remember Roy. He was right out there with everybody working as hard as he could. He and I shared our passion, and that is the Great River Road Learning and Visitor Center, our Freedom Park.”
Magee gave thanks to her mom, Sally West, her husband John, sister Connie and her family for all their support and help over the years.
“My mom showed me by her actions about selflessly giving back, no matter your own situation,” she said.
Magee said she loved Prescott from the day her family moved there in 1976 when she was a sophomore in high school.
“I knew I was home. My fellow classmates were wanting to move away from here, and I already knew I landed where I belong,” she said.
Nick Schommer was the first Prescott High School student athlete to receive a full Division 1 scholarship as a standout player for the North Dakota State Bison Football team. He was a fouryear starter and two-time team captain. He racked up 13 career interceptions before becoming a three-time All-Conference and All-American player for the Bison.
Schommer then became the first Prescott Cardinal to be drafted into the National Football League when was drafted in the seventh round by the Tennessee Titans in 2009.
At PHS, Schommer excelled in football and baseball, and he was selected to play in state all-star games in both sports his senior year.
Schommer was introduced by his cousin, Brady Randolph.
Randolph recalled that Schommer was small as a young child but “really, really fast.” He said that through high school, “He just kept growing and growing and growing and getting bigger, stronger, faster.”
“Two things set Nick apart. He had the heart of a lion. Number two, he was absolutely fearless,” said Randolph.
Schommer thanked Randolph for the kind words.
“I’ve always looked up to you. You’ve been more than a cousin. You’re a brother to me,” he said. “I appreciate everything you’ve done.
“Twelve years ago, I was drafted in the seventh round into the National Football League. All the rookies have to go to this thing called the Rookie Symposium. It’s basically a three-day workshop where you learn how not to be foolish with how you spend your money and how to become professional. I remember one of the speakers saying, ‘Stand up if you dare to be great. Keep standing if you dream of being in the Hall of fame.’ Well after 12 years, I can say that I’m finally in the hall of fame,” Schommer said to a round of applause and laughter.
“Tonight wraps up my last accomplishment as a Prescott High School graduate,” he said.
He thanked baseball coach Jeff Ryan for guiding him as a youth, and Pat Block for nominating him.
“Lastly, I want to thank my parents, especially my dad. He was instrumental to me getting to this point in my life. Anytime I wanted to play catch or hit balls, he would literally throw fivegallon buckets to me until I couldn’t swing anymore. Dad, I just want to let you know I appreciate you. You’re my hero, and I love you. And that’s all I have to say.”