Philomath Legends Club Director Steve Bennett shares a laugh with inductee Colene Lamberty while leading a presentation this past Friday during halftime of a basketball game. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

A familiar face connected with Warriors baseball and a charter member of the Philomath Booster Club represent the latest two additions to the Legends Club — a group of 21 individuals and four couples that have contributed heavily to local athletics.

Darleen Faxon and Colene Lamberty were introduced as inductees at halftime of a Jan. 27 boys basketball game.

Steve Bennett, who established the club in 2011 when he served as Philomath High’s athletic director, said on Friday night that it’s “a way we honor the people in our community that have gone over and above with their support of Philomath athletics, Philomath High School and in general, the Philomath community” and then added, “These two ladies are tremendous examples of that.”

Criteria for inclusion in the select club includes people who have offered strong support to Philomath athletics over time through different types of contributions, whether volunteering or financial. The club gets together each year, talks about potential nominees and chooses who to induct.

Faxon’s primary contribution to local athletics has been in support of the baseball program. She served as the secretary and treasurer of the Philomath Baseball Association for more than 20 years and has held those same positions at the youth baseball level.

“It’s a privilege to serve because there’s just so much need,” Faxon said. “So many people don’t want to volunteer to do things but there’s always so much to do and the kids need support.”

Faxon, whose husband, Jay Faxon, was a Legends Club inductee back in 2012, has supported PHS athletics through her volunteering for the baseball program’s fundraising efforts, including the annual bottle drive. She helped build the baseball fields at the middle school, served as the varsity team’s official scorekeeper for a six-year stretch and was a key go-to person for the annual Les and Bob’s Fourth of July tournament. In addition, she started team dinner traditions for baseball and football.

Philomath Legends Club Director Steve Bennett shares a laugh with inductee Colene Lamberty while leading a presentation this past Friday during halftime of a basketball game. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

“I spent a lot of time cooking and paying bills,” Faxon said. “I’m still the secretary-treasurer to two organizations so I’m still in it and still going strong. I don’t intend to quit anytime soon because most people just want to do it while their kids are involved and then they move on. Sometimes you need somebody who’s been around a little while.”

Jay and Darleen Faxon’s two sons, JJ and Lance, were heavily involved in athletics at Philomath High and have both been coaches for years — both as assistants with the varsity baseball team. Just this school year, Lance Faxon joined the PHS teaching staff and is also an assistant football coach.

Lamberty, who moved to Philomath in 1962, was a charter member of the Philomath Booster Club and over the years served as an officer and participated heavily in fundraising activities, such as the club’s annual auction. She even made aprons for those who collected money for 50/50 raffles.

“I did it because I enjoyed it — every bit of it,” Lamberty said after the event. “The kids, the teachers and watching how hard they worked.”

Lamberty’s three children were all involved in athletics but even after they moved on with PHS diplomas in hand, she remained committed to helping.

“It was something that I really looked forward to,” she said. “And now even though I’m out of it, I miss it.”

Lamberty said it’s so important for parents to be involved.

“The big thing is, you’ve got to volunteer and help your kids — that’s just so important,” she said.

Legends Club members who were on hand for the Jan. 27 program, from left, Denny Bennett, Ken York, Marcia Gilson, Norm Robinson, Colene Lamberty, Barb Robinson, Kay Yechout, Darleen Faxon, Peter Finn, Dennis Gibson, Jay Faxon and Charlie Lamberty. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Lamberty has been a longtime volunteer within Philomath schools. She led the charge to move Philomath Elementary away from only serving canned soup for lunch and helped establish a “hot dog day” where once a month students could choose a foot-long hot dog and moon pie for lunch.

She’s also been involved with several other organizations, including the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo, Rebekah Lodge, Philomath Food Bank and as manager of Philomath’s Meals on Wheels program.

“Looking at the years of my volunteering brings back so many memories, many including the schools,” she said.

Husband Charlie Lamberty was inducted into the Legends Club in 2017. Along with their three children, they have seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

At the conclusion of Bennett’s remarks, Faxon and Lamberty received Legends Club attire and now have lifetime passes to PHS activities.

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.