North Central Washington

Sports Awards

Don Elliston

April 24, 1932-January 14, 2011

A pharmacist by trade, Don was known as the "Father of the Sports Awards" and served as Wenatchee North Rotary's second president during the club's infancy. Since the fledgling organization was in search of a major project to not only generate funds to meet donation requests, but to also raise public awareness of Wenatchee North's existance, as well as that of Rotary, he led members on a perilous undertaking.

By germinating the idea of holding a sports awards banquet to honor North Central Washington's finest athletes, teams and coaches, Don faced the great risk of draining the paltry club treasury with 'up front' expenses. Considering only similar regional sports recognition banquets in Seattle and Spokane existed at the time, no template for success in a much more sparsely populated area like NCW was even remotely available to copy. It truly meant flying by the seat of their pants that first year. But Don's calm demeanor, always the quiet leader, along with a club roster including the Wenatchee Valley College athletic director, Don Schoening, and a young, energetic membership that was oriented toward athletics, helped pave the way.

The banquet, staged in the Cascadian Hotel's Ballroom on March 29, 1971, was deemed a success despite its four and a half hour length. The ceremony was emceed by Dr. Ed Cadman, who would later become president of Rotary International and spearhead the campaign to eradicate polio from the world. It featured a host of northwest sports celebrities headlined by Dee Andros, Oregon State University's athletic director and head football coach. Don presented the first President's Award at that banquet and, in 2011, the award was renamed in his honor.