The Western community lost one of its very best last week. Don Bakenhaster was a member of the Western High School Class of 1956. Although I wholeheartedly believe that Don is in a much better place now and I would never want him to leave that place to return, his passing is one more reminder of the sad reality that the Western community, Latham specifically, has another one of the people who helped make this such a great community to grow up in. Don Bakenhaster exemplified exactly what Indian Pride meant to me. He was a great Indian fan and asked me nearly every time he saw if "I'm keeping the kids in line up there." Western was always on his mind. He loved Western and he loved this community. Because of his love for his school and community, the Western Alumni Association officers had decided to give Don Bakenhaster the Lighthouse Award this spring for his service to our community. I had the plaque made and had planned to take it to him. However, he had gotten so sick so quickly that I wasn't able to get the plaque to him. Therefore, I presented the 2017 Western Alumni Association Lighthouse Award to his wife Anna. Don and Anna raised 5 Western High School graduates who all grew up to be very successful adults. Don Bakenhaster always had a smile and a deep passion for this community. He will be sadly missed but his memory, like so many others we have lost in the past few years, will live on in this community forever.
Don Bakenhaster receives 2017 Lighthouse Award Brock Brewster