Area News | Home | Marketplace | Community

Return to Archived Stories

Paynesville Press - May 5, 2004

Distinguished PAHS alumni to be honored

By Michael Jacobson

Tonight, the inaugural class of Distinguished Alumni from Paynesville High School will be honored: Ken Olson (Class of 1963), Ron Olsen (Class of 1966), and Bruce Stang (Class of 1977).

The new Distinguished Alumni Award is being sponsored by the "Keep the Quality" Education Foundation as a way to recognize the accomplishments of Paynesville graduates. Qualifications for the award are loose, but it is meant to honor PHS graduates "who have distinguished themselves in their careers, in public service, or through other significant contributions to society."

"Too often, we overlook the achievements and accomplishments of those 'ordinary people' who grew up in our community and graduated from our school," said Paul Bugbee, the president of the "Keep the Quality" Education Foundation. "In reality, there are many PHS alumni who have made a positive impact on our world through their contributions, their success, and their commitment to others. These are people of whom we can be proud, knowing that their origin and education started right here in our hometown."

Ken Olson's parents with President Richard Nixon The "Keep the Quality" board selected this trio for the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award from dozens of successful PHS alumni.

Ken Olson died in Vietnam in 1968, saving the life of a comrade by falling on a live hand grenade, an act for which he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

President Richard Nixon presented Ken Olson's Congressional Medal of Honor to his parents Ben and Lydia Olson in a White House ceremony in April 1970. Behind Ben and Lydia are Ken's older brothers Daniel and Philip.

Ron Olsen is an award-winning television reporter, who has worked in Los Angeles since 1982 and who covered the O.J. Simpson trial, among other notable stories.

Bruce Stang is the owner of Stang Precision in Paynesville's Industrial Park, who developed his own robotics for his plastic molding machines and who continues to seek better ways to make plastic products.

These inaugural recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award will be honored tonight at the annual honors banquet, along with the 40 current seniors from PAHS who will graduate with honors this spring.

A plaque listing the Distinguished Alumni Award recipients will be placed in the lobby of the school auditorium next fall.

(Editor's Note: Jacobson is a board member of the "Keep the Quality" Education Foundation and helped organize the Distinguished Alumni Award.)

Contact the author at   •   Return to News Menu

Home | Marketplace | Community