The Iowa High School Athletic Association has created a new award to honor those who contribute to thousands of sports contests without ever stepping on a field or court. They are public address announcers who volunteer their time in communities across Iowa. The first year honorees include four people who’ve spent a combined 161 years behind the microphone. Charley Schram has racked up 57 of those years announcing the games for Manilla-I-K-M. Schram returned from World War Two in 1946 with a bronze star, a purple heart, and a keen interest in sports. He started announcing football games.He had a shortwave radio enthusiast hook him up a microphone to a speaker on his car and he walked up and down the sidelines announcing the football game. Schram says they eventually built a press box and he moved on to announce every sport the school offers, from junior high to high school. Schram says he tries to keep his announcing straightforward, without a lot of flash.Schram says he likes to see the home team win, but he’s not a cheerleader, and knows no one is paying to hear him announce the games. Schram doesn’t think much of the announcers who try and become the focus of the events.Schram says it’s easy to be humbled.He says if he pronounces a name wrong, parents will immediately let him know about it. Schram says he’s still working after 57 years to improve.Schram is 82-years-old and says he’ll continue working the p-a as long as he’s in good health. The three others who’ll receive awards are John Galles, who’s been announcing at Kingsley-Pierson for 44 years; David “Pete” Peterson with 35 years announcing for Wall Lake View Auburn; Stan Steenhard who’s been announcing games for 25 years at Mason City. The IHSAA will also honor Mo Kelley who retired from the organization last year after 30 years as its publications director.
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