It’s all about the kids
Goss to receive prestigious community service award
For Bernie Goss, it was always about the kids.
After more than 40 years of serving as an athletic trainer, game official, rules interpreter and public address announcer at countless high school events, Goss, 66, will receive the 2013 Distinguished Community Service Award today from the Colorado Athletic Directors Association.
“It shows the appreciation ADs have for people that help get things going for them and make jobs easier for them,” Goss said. “I’ve been a very lucky person in my lifetime.”
The award is given each year to a supporter of high school athletics outside of coaching.
“People often mention to me how many athletic events we as ADs attend,” said Palisade Athletic Director Mike Krueger, who nominated Goss for the award. “Very seldom have I been to an event and not seen Bernie Goss. He is there to support kids. He’s dedicated his life to the service of high school athletes. He has served kids in so many ways.
“I’d be hard-pressed to give you a name of someone who has a greater impact on kids than Bernie Goss.”
Goss, who graduated from Fruita High School in 1964, has been involved in athletics since he kept statistics for the Fruita football team in 1963.
Bill Noxon was the coach, and he encouraged Goss to go into athletic training.
Noxon and former Fruita wrestling coach Jack Pollock paid for Goss to attend a seven-day, athletic-training workshop in Kansas.
“They put me on a bus to learn how to tape ankles and take care of kids,” Goss said. “That’s how I got started in athletic training.”
Goss said he intended to go to medical school, but he ran out of funding. He decided to go into teaching.
He taught science and social studies at the old Grand Junction Junior High, then was assigned to West Middle School when the junior high was split into two middle schools.
He took a one-year sabbatical and attended Western State College, where he received a degree in counseling.
Goss was a counselor at Grand Junction, Grand Valley and Eagle Valley high schools.
“You get almost anything in life that comes at you,” Goss said. “Everything from family to personal things. What do you think about this? What do you think about that? From kids without money to kids without clothes.
“I was at Grand Junction High School, there was a freshman boy named Jared who moved into the district from out of state. I was getting ready to leave my office about 4:30, and Jared is sitting on the front step crying. I said, ‘Jared, what’s the matter?’ ‘I went home and can’t get in my house.’ ‘Do you have a key?’ ‘Yeah, but the key won’t work.’
“I put him in my car and went to where he lived. His parents and younger brothers changed the locks, packed up and left town.”
Child-protection services took over.
“I think about him once in a while. I have no idea where he is or what he’s doing,” Goss said. “He’s not here locally anymore.”
Goss has been an athletic trainer in the school district since 1969, contracted through St. Mary’s Hospital.
“When I student-taught, Scott Coleman was a student of mine. At that time, this district was big on giving vocational-aptitude tests. Scott thought he wanted to be a pilot, and all the stuff came back medical.”
Coleman and Goss worked to put together the school district athletic-training program in use now.
In addition to athletic training, Goss became a certified official. The school district hired Goss to assign baseball umpires in the late 1970s. In 1995, Goss and John Leane started a business, Colo-West Custom Sports, to handle assigning officials for all high school athletic contests.
“We knew it was a sore subject for lots of people, so we organized our own business and presented it to District 51,” Goss said.
Chuck Nissen has since bought the company, but Goss still helps assign games. In the winter, he handles wrestling, and Nissen assigns basketball officials.
In 1995, Goss added the role of wrestling rules interpreter for the Colorado High School Activities Association. He plans to retire after next year.
As the wrestling rules interrupter, Goss became a familiar face to avid wrestling fans across the state.
“I have my own fan club at the state (wrestling) tournament,” Goss said. “Holyoke, Wiggins, Akron, they’ve always got something to joke about or ask me about.”
Whatever role Goss has served, his focus has always been centered on teenagers.
“Some people volunteer with various charities,” Goss said. “They get their challenge and reward from that. I happen to believe the future of this nation lies within our kids.
“I think anybody that can give to them or can encourage them needs to, so that’s why I do that.”