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Posted October 7, 2019
Plymouth High School inducted the two newest members of the Plymouth High School Alumni Hall of Fame on Sept. 27 during its 2019 Homecoming celebration.
Stan Struve graduated with the Class of 1964 and was drafted into the Marine Corps that same year. In Vietnam, he sustained severe injuries from a land mine. He left the hospital 10 months later, without vision in one eye, without his right leg, and with a badly injured left leg.
Although he returned to Plymouth disabled, he helped create a junior league football program in 1969. He coached middle-school basketball for 10 years, and often beat his players in games of horse from his wheelchair.
He also coached pee-wee league baseball for more than 20 years, impacting hundreds of kids. In recognition of his efforts, he was inducted into the Plymouth Youth Baseball Hall of Fame, and the field at Rotary Park was named in his honor.
Mr. Struve and his wife, Janice, helped create a local charity called “The Gift of Life,” which is now in its 29th year. This organization holds softball and mini-bowling tournaments, a 5K run/walk, and other community events. Since its inception, nearly a million dollars has been raised to help members of the community who have special needs or illness. Though Mr. Struve passed away in 1999, his legacy continues to positively impact the Plymouth community.
Mr. Struve was nominated by his son Tate. His son Todd spoke at the induction ceremony, noting that his father’s first award was being named PHS football MVP in 1964; his most recent being his induction into the PHS Hall of Fame.
Todd Struve said his father was giving and dedicated and, above all, an overcomer. “Picture yourself at age 18, then Uncle Sam calls you to fight,” he told the students. “You leave whole and in great shape ...”
His father had to overcome many obstacles. He was inspirational, doing some things from a wheelchair better than many people without disabilities, such as hit baseballs and shoot basketballs.
“He could have given up. But he didn’t allow that to hinder what he wanted to do,” Todd Struve said. “Don’t ever give up. There may be times when life throws you a curveball. Keep moving forward.”
April Doebert participated in basketball, volleyball, the state-bound soccer team, band, yearbook, and FAA. She planned on becoming an athletic trainer, and did an independent study with the PHS athletic trainer, but later decided she wanted to be an occupational therapist.
She graduated from PHS in 2004, then attended Concordia University, earning a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and a master’s degree in occupational therapy. After working as an occupational therapist in skilled-nursing facilities and a home-health agency, she joined Carroll University as an adjunct professor in January 2016.
She earned a doctoral degree in occupational therapy from Mount Mary University in 2018, after completion of her thesis, “Enhancing Self-Responsibility Through Group Learning in Occupational Therapy Education.”
Her PHS classes prepared her well for the rigors of college. “I would love to thank Plymouth High School for the well-rounded education it provided me with,” she said during the induction ceremony, adding that she stresses the importance of lifelong learning to her own students.
She now serves as a clinical assistant professor and curriculum coordinator at Carroll University. She is a dementia-capable care therapist and certified in kinesiotape.
Mrs. Doebert-Fischer also has become an advocate for at-risk children, both professionally and personally. She is a foster parent ambassador at Children’s Hospital, and is a certified child and adolescent anxiety therapist. She operates her own therapy service for children, focusing on child and adolescent mental health. She and her husband became foster parents in 2016 and officially adopted two children in 2018.
“Don’t let challenges deter you from what you want to achieve,” she told the students at the induction ceremony.
She was nominated by Jean Hamm, her former teacher in Plymouth and a long-time family friend.
The PHS Student Council established the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010 to honor individuals who have made a difference, who have achieved a high level of success, and who have given unselfishly to make their community a better place.
New candidates, who must have graduated from PHS at least 10 years ago, may be nominated annually in the spring. A Student Council committee selects the finalists, who are revealed at Commencement in June and inducted at Homecoming in the fall.