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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Martinez: Clark County chapter of National Football Foundation in need of Hail Mary

High school sports

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: April 5, 2023, 6:04am

When Gery Gehrmann, Denny Huston and Steve Miletich get together, they love to talk about the good ol’ days.

A recent lunch I shared with the three Hall-of-Famers lasted more than two hours.

“As you can tell, we all have stories,” Huston said. “And we also have wives with long honey-do lists, so any reason we can find to get out of doing that …”

As much as they love reminiscing, the three men are currently focused on the future as it pertains to the Clark County Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

Gehrmann helped establish the Clark County chapter of the NFF back in 1993.

“It was supposed to be 1992,” Miletich said. “But that was the year Gery had a heart attack.”

After his recovery, Gehrmann poured his heart into the NFF local chapter, which hosted an annual banquet that handed thousands of dollars of scholarship money to worthy high school football stars.

“People don’t know about all the good things that NFF has done over the years,” Huston said. “The scholarships weren’t just about what the kids did on the field, but also about their academics and community service.”

Gehrmann added: “It has always been about honoring kids who were doing great things in their community.”

Over the years, the Clark County chapter grew its membership to more than 500, making it one of the largest chapters in the country.

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“We used to host a golf tournament as a fundraiser for the foundation, and Gery would make sure everyone who played got an NFF membership,” Huston said.

“I just wanted to make everyone feel that they were part of what the organization was doing, and not just giving it some money,” Gehrmann said.

In addition to the scholarship money, the local chapter also organized coaching clinics to help those who were leading youth football in the area.

But after nearly a three-decade run, the pandemic took a toll on the local chapter.

The last annual banquet was held in January 2020, and even though the chapter continued to hand out scholarships in lieu of the banquet, those funds have dried up.

“The Clark County chapter has been a strong chapter of the NFF for many years,” said Ron Dilatush, director of membership for the NFF. “However, the COVID situation really took a toll on them. Gery Gehrmann has been a leader for us for many years and has agreed to step in to try to right the ship.”

Gehrmann, Huston and Miletich were all long-serving board members for the local chapter of the NFF.

Gehrmann is a longtime teacher in Evergreen Public Schools and served as the head football coach at Evergreen from 1969-1976. He was inducted into the Washington Officials Association Hall of Fame after nearly four decades of service as a wrestling official and administrator.

Huston is a member of the Clark College Athletics Hall of Fame after stints as a basketball player and head coach at Clark, as well as serving as the school’s athletic director, all sandwiched around a career as a college basketball coach that spanned 25 years.

Miletich is a member of the Evergreen Football Officials Association after serving 41 years as a football official.

Now, the three men are looking for new leaders who share their passion for supporting high school athletics.

“We’re looking for new leadership,” Gehrmann said. “We’re looking for coaches, former players. Really, anyone who has a love for high school football. And we are also looking for businesses to support this organization that means so much to us and has done so much over the years.

“Kids still need to be recognized for being good people.”

If you would like to help …

Anyone interested to helping out the Clark County Chapter of the National Football Foundation should contact Gery Gehrmann at gerygehr@aol.com