Cherry Hills Estates and Modern Woodmen of America honored this year’s Hometown Hero, Dick Shamis, at the annual Football Supper and Pep Rally held Thursday, September 7th at Cherry Hills Estates Assisted Living.
A wonderful spaghetti supper with a rich chocolate dessert was served to Dick and his family in the front room. The team, coaches and cheerleaders enjoyed time eating and visiting with the residents. After supper everyone gathered under the canopy and on the sideline for the Hometown Hero Presentation. After receiving his award, Dick spoke of the 1945 Football Season when the Valentine Football Team made history. Following the presentation, the Cherry Hills Football Field came alive as the cheerleaders led the group in a pep rally. With the addition of a chain set and 3 Referees the Badger team ran a few plays for the spectators.
The residents of Cherry Hills enjoyed spending time under the canopy with Dick and his family as well as other family and friends who joined in the celebration.
Dick grew up in Valentine where is dad owned the grocery store on 2nd and Main. Dick played basketball in grade school and then played three years of High School Football and was part of the incredible football team who made small town history.
Here is an excerpt from the book “Winning Wasn’t Enough” written by Dick’s granddaughter Jessi Shamis.
In 1945, World War II came to an end, soldiers returned home, and rationing was lifted. Across America, people talked of victory and looked to the future with hope. In a small ranching community in Nebraska, a group of young men chased a victory all their own.
There was nothing remarkable about the Valentine High School football team—they had scant resources and many of the individual players were small. Still, they were talented and they’d been playing together long enough to hone their instincts.
These ordinary young men set out to do something extraordinary. They decided to play the perfect season—a season in which no team would score one point against them. It was ambitious. It was bold. Some said it was foolish. Many doubted it could be done. But the players never doubted themselves.
As a team they were powerful, “Small but Mighty” was the headline of an article in the school newsletter the Badger Digs about full back Dick Shamis. Standing 5 ft 3 in in his stocking feet he is certainly the smallest fullback in the North Central Conference and probably the smallest first teamer in the Conference the article declared. Shamis might have been the smallest member of the team but none of them were large. They didn’t win by overpowering their opponents, what they lacked in height and in bulk they made up for with speed, tenacity and talent. Every player played both offense and defense. To win they had to be tight and focused. They had to cultivate incredible stamina. They had to control the ball and move it quickly down the field. Individually they were fast and talented and agile. Together, they were a formidable team.
Dick left Valentine in 1960 to move to Omaha and work a job at Safeway. During his time in Omaha, he changed jobs and began a career as an insurance salesman, and eventually buying the Colburn Insurance Company, moved back to Valentine in 1966. Dick served on the Fire Department for over 35 years and served on the Sheriff’s Reserve from the 1970s until about six years ago.
In the late 80’s Dick started flying for Clarence Danielski and his love of flying has taken him on many adventures throughout the years. Dick is an avid golfer and has owned homes in both Texas and South Dakota where he splits his time traveling and enjoys spending time with his wife Shirley, their grandkids and great grand kids. Congratulations Dick Shamis, we are proud to have you as our Hometown Hero.