WILLISTON, N.D. - Friday night, the Williston High School gym will be named after our long-time sportscaster Jon Cole.
Thirty-five years ago, Jon Cole got on a bus in his native Massachusetts and got off in Williston, to start his career. He was struck by the community.
"Great people. People who would go out of their way to thank you and appreciate you and give you stories. Because they work hard every day, and they like someone who works hard every day. And, they also take great pride in Williston," said Cole.
Members of that community now wanted to do something special for Jon to thank him.
"The impact that Jon has had on the lives of so many, both young and old, goes without saying. So this is just a way to say 'Jon, thank you for what you've given us,'" said Tate Cymbaluk, Williston City Commission.
Many current and former athletes and coaches wrote letters of support to the Williston School Board saying there was no better name for the new gym.
"This is a community thing, this is community supported. We received a lot of letters of support, we received a lot of emails, a lot of text messages," said Tate.
And the board responded without a second question.
"I think the entire board was very pleased that Jon Cole's name was the one that was brought forth. I don't think we could have hand-picked a better person to name the gymnasium for," said Williston School Board President Kim Semenko.
It's not hard to see the effect Jon has made on Williston and surrounding area.
"And I thank the good Lord every day that he is still here," said Semenko.
Ever humble, Jon was floored by the community's response.
"And it's just an honor of a lifetime to think that they would name the gym after me. It's really unbelievable and it's heart-felt. And from the bottom of my heart, I just say thank you. Thank you very much. It's an honor that I never, ever, ever thought I would achieve," said Cole.
For many, many more years to come, Jon Cole will report from the Jon Cole Gymnasium at Williston High School.
All of us here at NBC North Dakota News would like to send our congratulations to Jon for this tremendous honor.