Thursday, August 18, 2022

In Klagetoh, Long-Awaited Hoop Dreams Become a Reality

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Suzanne Hammons
Suzanne Hammons is the editor of the Voice of the Southwest and the media coordinator for the Diocese of Gallup. A graduate of Benedictine College in Kansas, she joined the Diocesan staff in 2012.

The brand-new basketball court in Klagetoh is officially open to all players.

Last year, St. Anne Mission was in the final fundraising push to upgrade the church’s outdoor basketball court. Despite surface damage from decades of exposure to the elements, the court was still a huge draw for local families and kids.

The project was led by John Yonushonis, a longtime volunteer at St. Anne Mission. He started the fundraising through a combination of raffles, silent auctions, and direct donations to the church or the court’s GoFundMe page. The final push was aided by a $10,000 grant from the Arizona Fiesta Bowl, an organization that generates charitable and economic growth through college football.

With funding in place, the work on the new court began.

“We increased the size of the court, we ripped down the old posts and put in new posts. They have over 25 bags of concrete in each one, so they’re really sturdy,” Yonushonis said. “One of the reasons we were able to do it also was that everyone pitched in to do the work. It was the volunteers that laid the concrete, smoothed it down.”

Once the basketball court was leveled, smooth, and the newer, sturdier compound had settled, St. Anne held a grand opening celebration on the last weekend in October 2017. Parishioners mingled with locals from the Klagetoh community, enjoying frybread, live music, and food.

For Yonushonis and the other dedicated volunteers at St. Anne, the basketball court is only the beginning.

“We’re talking about lighting now. We probably will do something about the volleyball court because it’s getting to be so popular.”


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