Last month I was reading the online edition of the Forks Forum. I have not seen a hard copy since I enlisted in the Coast Guard some 30 years ago. The headlines were Coach Wheeler to Coaches Hall of Fame. I read your article and immediately called the school to congratulate him.
I had to leave a message but Bob called me back. We spoke for 10 or 15 minutes, this was the first time I had spoken to him in many years.
I could not congratulate Bob enough.
Mr. Wheeler was my seventh-grade English and reading teacher, his first year in Forks. He helped a very dyslexic, adolescent boy learn to read and understand English grammar.
Then when I was in the ninth-grade, Coach Wheeler encouraged me to turn out for the wrestling team, (that year the team was short on lightweights and I barely weighed 100 pounds). Coach Wheeler took a small, skinny, farm boy that was often bullied and beat up on the playground, one who did not know how to defend himself, into a freshman varsity letter winner.
When I was a senior, Coach gave me one of the two captain’s position. It was an honor to sew the star onto my letter jacket. The team did win the league championship that year and I believe two of my team mates later became All Americans while in college.
I won more matches than I lost but in the end I was not one of his state placers. For many years I felt that my wrestling career was unfinished. But as I look back it was just high school athletics.
Coach was the first to encourage me and to help me with the self-esteem that I needed to complete basic training (as an 18-year-old young man). I then completed a 20-year career with the Coast Guard.
A few years back I was working in West Africa on an off-shore oil platform. All the instruction manuals were to be translated from French into English. I spent one month correcting the grammar for many of the documents. Every time I was given a new one I smiled at myself because my seventh-grade English teacher helped a dyslexic boy learn English grammar.
Thank you Mr. Wheeler for helping me learn and understand English.
Congratulations Coach Wheeler on entering the Hall of Fame.
You Sir prove that good things do happen to good people.
Harvey D. Hoffman
Forks High, Class of 1985