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8 inducted into PCHS Hall of Fame

What brings together a Secret Service worker, an Oakland Raiderette cheerleader, two doctors, an Army captain, a farmer/agriculture professor, a basketball coach/teacher and a member of the U.S. Coast Guard?
While this may sound like a list of “Career Day” presenters, the eight people with these titles were those honored Monday night as the sixth group of inductees into the Pulaski County High School Hall of Fame since it began in 1994.
The eight inductees were chosen out of a group of 30 nominees, according to former PCHS teacher John Freeman, who, along with his wife, Jackie, also a former PCHS teacher, chaired the Hall of Fame committee which ultimately selected the inductees.
Teachers of the inductees were honored during the induction ceremony as well. Each inductee chose to recognize one teacher who served as a positive influence and source of inspiration in their education.
Monday night’s inductees, along with their teachers, were:
Brian Clymer
Class of 1998
Clymer graduated from West Point in 2002 and was the number one ranked cadet in his class. He served in the U.S. Army, with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and earned two Bronze Star Medals for valor in combat. Currently, he is doing graduate work at Harvard and expects to receive his MBA in 2009. Capt. Clymer also continues to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Clymer chose to recognize his former football coach, Joel Hicks.
“It’s good to come back to the place where you come from and to realize the very important things that have helped you become successful,” Clymer said. “I was never in the classroom with Joel (Hicks), but I learned more from him on the field and in the field house in the way you’re supposed to conduct yourself, and in work ethic and how to drive yourself. I think those are intangible things that I carried with me throughout the hardships and difficult times, whether it was at West Point, or slopping through the mountains in ranger school, or even dealing with the blistering heat in Iraq.”
Dr. Rodell Cruise Class of 1981
Cruise has returned to his hometown of Pulaski County to practice medicine. His new clinic will be within sight of PCHS. Cruise serves as an elected member of the Pulaski County School Board and is a board member of the Radford University Waldron College Council.
Cruise chose to recognize Ruth Howe, his former guidance counselor.
“I’m just humbled to be here,” Cruise said. “Mrs. Ruth Howe was the guidance counselor when I went to school here and when I wasn’t sure in what direction I wanted to go or could go. But she saw more in me than I saw in myself, and she kind of nudged me along and pushed me in the right direction, so thank you for that.”
As for the Pulaski County Public School system, he said, “Wherever I’ve gone throughout my life, in travels and education, I’ve never felt that I couldn’t compete with anybody at any level, and that’s due to our school system.”
Joseph Guthrie
Class of 1985
Guthrie is a Pulaski County farmer, who is the sixth generation of his family to own and operate a farm in the county. Guthrie attended Virginia Tech, where he currently teaches agriculture, and received high honors as a student there, including a Fulbright Scholarship. He is currently president of the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association and is also a commissioned lay pastor for Peaks Presbytery (Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.).
Guthrie chose to recognize Mike Cox, his former agriculture teacher at PCHS.
“What I’ve found from teaching at Tech is that you have to reach people at what their skills are,” Guthrie said. “(Agriculture) has been a big part of my life, and the ag classes I took with Mr. Cox and the influence of FFA have been a big part of that. And that’s something that allows people who have a particular skill set, where being and doing something, rather than reading or seeing something, can really achieve a lot, so I hope that will continue to be a big part of our school system because it’s going to continue to be a very large, important part of our county as well.”
Mark Hanks
Class of 1979
Hanks is a math teacher and head basketball coach at PCHS. Before returning to Pulaski County, he led his Liberty High School team in Bedford to two state titles and one runner-up. Hanks has won district, region and state “Coach of the Year” awards. His Cougar basketball teams are 98-54 and have made four regional appearances.
Hanks chose to recognize Ann Armbrister, his former English teacher.
“I’m the oldest inductee, by the way,” Hanks said. “So being the age that I am, I was probably one of the only ones lucky to have her (Armbrister) as an English teacher here.”
“She was something really special. It’s like anything else. You don’t realize how great she was until later when you really get out there and you start using some of the same things and same philosophies in the classroom that they taught you in class. She said she was the oldest person here, and I said, well, I’m the oldest inductee, so we make a great team.”
Robert Hoback
Class of 1990
Hoback was working for the National Secret Service in Building Seven at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He helped evacuate and lead workers to safety before the collapse of the Twin Towers. He continues to serve in the Secret Service and is presently assigned to the protection detail for Vice President and Mrs. Dick Cheney.
Hoback chose to recognize Diana Trump, his former math teacher.
“I had the privilege of having Mrs. Trump as math teacher,” Hoback said. “In addition to teaching me to do the right thing and to take responsibility for my actions, she spent a lot of time with me, and I guess she saw the diamond in the rough, so thank you for all your time.”
“It shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m here, considering the fact that I had teachers like Mrs. Trump, and coaches like Coach Hicks, Coach (Mark) Hanks, and that I had parents like my mom and dad. They are really the ones who deserve this award more than me.”
Lori O’Dell
Class of 1993
O’Dell, of Modesto, Calif., coaches and choreographs for a national gymnastics team, while teaching more than 40 students at her piano studio. She has been in the public eye in her role as an Oakland Raiderette cheerleader for more than five years. As a Raiderette, she has participated in numerous civic projects and charity events. She also took part in AFE tours to Japan and South Korea. In early 2008, she worked on the Pro Sports MVP Super Bowl Tour, visiting U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
O’Dell chose to recognize Melanie Ondich, her former dance teacher.
“Learning isn’t just between four walls in a classroom,” O’Dell said. “It might be in a dance studio or at a performance or football game. The lessons that you learn, the discipline and the hard work, the drive that is prevalent throughout anything you try to achieve in life, and I want to thank Melanie for giving me those things.”
O’Dell also mentioned the person who nominated her, a former classmate, who now lives in Florida, who told her about how much her daughters look up to her (O’Dell).
“I guess when you get to this point in your life, you don’t realize how many people you can touch or how many people are looking at you and what you’re doing and trying to accomplish maybe something that you wanted to do when you were a child,” O’Dell said.
Dr. John Sadler, III, Class of 1983
Sadler is a founding partner of Primary Care Associates in Roanoke. As a student at Medical College of Virginia, Sadler participated in several research projects with Dr. Jacob A. Lohr and authored “Hospital Acquired Urinary Tract Infections,” which was published nationally in Pediatrics, Volume 83, Number 2, February 1989, pages 193-199. Sadler is also a board member of the Roanoke Valley Academy of Medicine. He is an elder at Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church, where he serves on several committees and is a Sunday school teacher.
Sadler chose to recognize Lee Duff, his former teacher at Pulaski Middle School.

“Mrs. Duff was a teacher who gave me a wonderful head start,” Clymer said. “Her class was challenging. I was 12 at the time, sixth grade, which is kind of a pivotal year. She had us doing things in that class that I wouldn’t do again on a regular basis, at least until high school and even into college.”
Sadler also offered some encouragement to coaches, teachers and administrators at PCHS.
“Keep the faith in the influence that you can make to the students. That may motivate them and keep them going and they can see the best of what they’re doing. Keep up that energy that they need.”
Joel Sayers
Class of 1991
Sayers, of Mobile, Ala., won national accolades for his heroic rescue operations as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard during Hurricane Katrina. Petty Officer Sayers helped organize the helicopter rescue of 167 people in New Orleans. He was personally responsible for saving 65 flood victims. Sayers was selected to represent the Coast Guard at President Bush’s State of the Union Address in January 2006. He also represented the USCG on ABC News as “Person of the Week” and later as “Person of the Year.”
Sayers chose to recognize his mother, Sharon, who is a retired elementary school teacher.
“The one thing I’ve taken from Pulaski County is that there is always a sense of family,” Sayers said “The one thing my mother always did when we got home is she would spend time with both me and my sister to make sure that we were always where we needed to be. My father, who I know I drove crazy with mathematics, was always there to help me and to push a little bit harder so that I understood what I was being taught.”
“I think that not only the teaching that takes place in school itself, but also what takes place with the family once they get home, is the one thing we have here in Pulaski County that I will tell you other places do not. I’m very proud of the teachers we have here, very proud of the schools we have here, and I’m very proud of the families that are a huge part of that,” Sayers said.

The eight new Hall of Fame inductees were also invited to attend PCHS’ “Investments in Learning” assembly today, in which students were to be recognized for their academic achievements and the school’s “Most Valuable Cougar” was to be revealed.
You may contact Jena Hardy at jena@southwesttimes.com

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8 inducted into PCHS Hall of Fame

What brings together a Secret Service worker, an Oakland Raiderette cheerleader, two doctors, an Army captain, a farmer/agriculture professor, a basketball coach/teacher and a member of the U.S. Coast Guard?
While this may sound like a list of “Career Day” presenters, the eight people with these titles were those honored Monday night as the sixth group of inductees into the Pulaski County High School Hall of Fame since it began in 1994.
The eight inductees were chosen out of a group of 30 nominees, according to former PCHS teacher John Freeman, who, along with his wife, Jackie, also a former PCHS teacher, chaired the Hall of Fame committee which ultimately selected the inductees.
Teachers of the inductees were honored during the induction ceremony as well. Each inductee chose to recognize one teacher who served as a positive influence and source of inspiration in their education.
Monday night’s inductees, along with their teachers, were:
Brian Clymer
Class of 1998
Clymer graduated from West Point in 2002 and was the number one ranked cadet in his class. He served in the U.S. Army, with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and earned two Bronze Star Medals for valor in combat. Currently, he is doing graduate work at Harvard and expects to receive his MBA in 2009. Capt. Clymer also continues to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Clymer chose to recognize his former football coach, Joel Hicks.
“It’s good to come back to the place where you come from and to realize the very important things that have helped you become successful,” Clymer said. “I was never in the classroom with Joel (Hicks), but I learned more from him on the field and in the field house in the way you’re supposed to conduct yourself, and in work ethic and how to drive yourself. I think those are intangible things that I carried with me throughout the hardships and difficult times, whether it was at West Point, or slopping through the mountains in ranger school, or even dealing with the blistering heat in Iraq.”
Dr. Rodell Cruise Class of 1981
Cruise has returned to his hometown of Pulaski County to practice medicine. His new clinic will be within sight of PCHS. Cruise serves as an elected member of the Pulaski County School Board and is a board member of the Radford University Waldron College Council.
Cruise chose to recognize Ruth Howe, his former guidance counselor.
“I’m just humbled to be here,” Cruise said. “Mrs. Ruth Howe was the guidance counselor when I went to school here and when I wasn’t sure in what direction I wanted to go or could go. But she saw more in me than I saw in myself, and she kind of nudged me along and pushed me in the right direction, so thank you for that.”
As for the Pulaski County Public School system, he said, “Wherever I’ve gone throughout my life, in travels and education, I’ve never felt that I couldn’t compete with anybody at any level, and that’s due to our school system.”
Joseph Guthrie
Class of 1985
Guthrie is a Pulaski County farmer, who is the sixth generation of his family to own and operate a farm in the county. Guthrie attended Virginia Tech, where he currently teaches agriculture, and received high honors as a student there, including a Fulbright Scholarship. He is currently president of the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association and is also a commissioned lay pastor for Peaks Presbytery (Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.).
Guthrie chose to recognize Mike Cox, his former agriculture teacher at PCHS.
“What I’ve found from teaching at Tech is that you have to reach people at what their skills are,” Guthrie said. “(Agriculture) has been a big part of my life, and the ag classes I took with Mr. Cox and the influence of FFA have been a big part of that. And that’s something that allows people who have a particular skill set, where being and doing something, rather than reading or seeing something, can really achieve a lot, so I hope that will continue to be a big part of our school system because it’s going to continue to be a very large, important part of our county as well.”
Mark Hanks
Class of 1979
Hanks is a math teacher and head basketball coach at PCHS. Before returning to Pulaski County, he led his Liberty High School team in Bedford to two state titles and one runner-up. Hanks has won district, region and state “Coach of the Year” awards. His Cougar basketball teams are 98-54 and have made four regional appearances.
Hanks chose to recognize Ann Armbrister, his former English teacher.
“I’m the oldest inductee, by the way,” Hanks said. “So being the age that I am, I was probably one of the only ones lucky to have her (Armbrister) as an English teacher here.”
“She was something really special. It’s like anything else. You don’t realize how great she was until later when you really get out there and you start using some of the same things and same philosophies in the classroom that they taught you in class. She said she was the oldest person here, and I said, well, I’m the oldest inductee, so we make a great team.”
Robert Hoback
Class of 1990
Hoback was working for the National Secret Service in Building Seven at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He helped evacuate and lead workers to safety before the collapse of the Twin Towers. He continues to serve in the Secret Service and is presently assigned to the protection detail for Vice President and Mrs. Dick Cheney.
Hoback chose to recognize Diana Trump, his former math teacher.
“I had the privilege of having Mrs. Trump as math teacher,” Hoback said. “In addition to teaching me to do the right thing and to take responsibility for my actions, she spent a lot of time with me, and I guess she saw the diamond in the rough, so thank you for all your time.”
“It shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m here, considering the fact that I had teachers like Mrs. Trump, and coaches like Coach Hicks, Coach (Mark) Hanks, and that I had parents like my mom and dad. They are really the ones who deserve this award more than me.”
Lori O’Dell
Class of 1993
O’Dell, of Modesto, Calif., coaches and choreographs for a national gymnastics team, while teaching more than 40 students at her piano studio. She has been in the public eye in her role as an Oakland Raiderette cheerleader for more than five years. As a Raiderette, she has participated in numerous civic projects and charity events. She also took part in AFE tours to Japan and South Korea. In early 2008, she worked on the Pro Sports MVP Super Bowl Tour, visiting U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
O’Dell chose to recognize Melanie Ondich, her former dance teacher.
“Learning isn’t just between four walls in a classroom,” O’Dell said. “It might be in a dance studio or at a performance or football game. The lessons that you learn, the discipline and the hard work, the drive that is prevalent throughout anything you try to achieve in life, and I want to thank Melanie for giving me those things.”
O’Dell also mentioned the person who nominated her, a former classmate, who now lives in Florida, who told her about how much her daughters look up to her (O’Dell).
“I guess when you get to this point in your life, you don’t realize how many people you can touch or how many people are looking at you and what you’re doing and trying to accomplish maybe something that you wanted to do when you were a child,” O’Dell said.
Dr. John Sadler, III, Class of 1983
Sadler is a founding partner of Primary Care Associates in Roanoke. As a student at Medical College of Virginia, Sadler participated in several research projects with Dr. Jacob A. Lohr and authored “Hospital Acquired Urinary Tract Infections,” which was published nationally in Pediatrics, Volume 83, Number 2, February 1989, pages 193-199. Sadler is also a board member of the Roanoke Valley Academy of Medicine. He is an elder at Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church, where he serves on several committees and is a Sunday school teacher.
Sadler chose to recognize Lee Duff, his former teacher at Pulaski Middle School.

“Mrs. Duff was a teacher who gave me a wonderful head start,” Clymer said. “Her class was challenging. I was 12 at the time, sixth grade, which is kind of a pivotal year. She had us doing things in that class that I wouldn’t do again on a regular basis, at least until high school and even into college.”
Sadler also offered some encouragement to coaches, teachers and administrators at PCHS.
“Keep the faith in the influence that you can make to the students. That may motivate them and keep them going and they can see the best of what they’re doing. Keep up that energy that they need.”
Joel Sayers
Class of 1991
Sayers, of Mobile, Ala., won national accolades for his heroic rescue operations as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard during Hurricane Katrina. Petty Officer Sayers helped organize the helicopter rescue of 167 people in New Orleans. He was personally responsible for saving 65 flood victims. Sayers was selected to represent the Coast Guard at President Bush’s State of the Union Address in January 2006. He also represented the USCG on ABC News as “Person of the Week” and later as “Person of the Year.”
Sayers chose to recognize his mother, Sharon, who is a retired elementary school teacher.
“The one thing I’ve taken from Pulaski County is that there is always a sense of family,” Sayers said “The one thing my mother always did when we got home is she would spend time with both me and my sister to make sure that we were always where we needed to be. My father, who I know I drove crazy with mathematics, was always there to help me and to push a little bit harder so that I understood what I was being taught.”
“I think that not only the teaching that takes place in school itself, but also what takes place with the family once they get home, is the one thing we have here in Pulaski County that I will tell you other places do not. I’m very proud of the teachers we have here, very proud of the schools we have here, and I’m very proud of the families that are a huge part of that,” Sayers said.

The eight new Hall of Fame inductees were also invited to attend PCHS’ “Investments in Learning” assembly today, in which students were to be recognized for their academic achievements and the school’s “Most Valuable Cougar” was to be revealed.
You may contact Jena Hardy at jena@southwesttimes.com

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