Recently, the struggles in the River Bend/Fulton High School District have come to my attention.
Due to the fiscal status of the state of Illinois, the school district has been forced to make very difficult budget decisions. However, I became especially concerned when I learned of the dismissal of Jeff Hoese from his positions as Boys’ Sophomore Basketball Coach and Student Council Advisor. I no longer have a child in the school district but due to the efforts of Jeff Hoese both myself and my son, Jared Balk, have many fond memories of just what it means to be a Fulton Steamer.
My son, Jared, was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma while in his sophomore year at Fulton High School. While a freshman, Jared participated on the freshman basketball team under the direction of Mr. Hoese. My son has often remarked, “Mr. Hoese was one of the best coaches I could have had.” During Jared’s sophomore year however his health began to decline and he was unable to participate in extra-curriculars.
Realizing the stress our family was under, Mr. Hoese through the student council organized a dodgeball tournament benefit to assist in defraying the medical and out-of-pocket expenses not covered under our health insurance program. Our family was so touched by such a fiscally generous and emotionally meaningful action.
Unfortunately, my son encountered another health crisis during the fall of his senior year. The lymphoma had returned and we were devastated. We knew the impact the illness as well as the treatment would have on Jared’s ability to fully participate in the experience of his senior year. We did not know nor could we have ever anticipated the intensity and dedication of Mr. Jeff Hoese to any member of the student body at Fulton High School.