By Eric Wood
Pennant Student Reporter
For about as long as about anyone can remember, my grandparents -- Ruth and Vern Thompson -- have been a constant staple at Penn Kingsmen football and basketball games. They have been loyal attendees since my uncle (their son), Mike, began playing in the PHS Marching Band in 1967.
That’s 50 years of wearing Black and Gold and cheering on the Kingsmen!
“We figured that since we were coming to the (marching band) events anyways, we might as well watch the football games, too,” Ruth said.
Ruth and Vern were honored at the football game vs. Elkhart Central (Friday, Oct. 6) for 50 years of Kingsmen loyalty. P-H-M Superintendent Dr. Thacker was joined by U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, P-H-M Board Members Jamie Woods and Chris Riley, and Penn Principal Sean Galiher to honor Vern and Ruth midfield before kickoff. Click to watch the video below of the midfield recognition on Friday, October 6.
“It just never gets old,” Vern Thompson said. “It’s a great stress reliever after a long week. It’s always fun to go to the game, and fun to talk about the game afterwards.”
Through both tumultuous and serene periods of their lives, my grandma and grandpa have remained devoted Kingsmen fans.
My grandparents met at a square dance, whereas my grandpa describes, “It was love at first sight.”
Both grew up locally, Vern realizing his love of sports while playing basketball and running track at Madison, and Ruth playing drums in the marching band at Riley High School. She was the first female drummer in the Riley Marching Band.
The two happily married in 1950, just months before Vern would be shipped away to Fort Worth, Texas, to begin Army training. This past summer with U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski’s help, Vern was finally awarded five medals for his service in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve during the Korean War: Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with three bronze service stars, and United Nations Service Medal. Click to watch a story that aired on WSBT after he received his long-awaited medals.
It’s been an honor to learn about community support and commitment from my grandparents.
And take it from someone who knows, there is nobody more deserving of being honored by Dr. Thacker and the Penn Community than my grandparents.