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AKO Fraternity, (Alpha Kai Omega) is a sports-focused service fraternity in Ontario, Canada, that was formed in 1929 in Windsor, Ontario.

History

AKO was founded in 1929 by seven students at Windsor Walkerville Technical School (later W. D. Lowe High School): Norm Hull (the first President), Bill Begley, Ron Truscott, Jay Love, Ivan Stokes, Jim Fairhurst, and Jack McMillan. It was named by one of their teachers, Mr. Siers. Alpha kai Omega is Greek for "the first and last."[1]

In 1935 the fraternity became incorporated and obtained a Provincial Charter under issue of letters patent by the Provincial Secretary.

With the outbreak of World War II, members started joining all three services, which caused the club to become temporarily inactive for three years.

The fraternity started out sponsoring school and community dances at the Prince Edward Hotel Ballroom and Lakeview Golf Club, and other fundraising events to support charities, such as the Blind Institute.

Many of the members were sports enthusiasts, and they organized their own softball team that was very successful in the local Fraternity League in the late 1930s, with such players as Jimmy Farmer, Mark Wood, Harry Heydon, Harold Jackson, Bill Hudson, and George Mackay.

Club House(s)

AKO's first home was a house they rented on Victoria Ave, between Park and London streets. From there they rented the top floor of the C. H. Smith Department Store to conduct their meetings, then moved to the Walkerville Land & Power Building at Kildare and Wyandotte. That was followed by a move to the Air Force Club huts at Ouellette and Tecumseh, where they remained for many years.

Through the ensuing years they have conducted their meetings at such places as the Othmar Grotto Club, Norton Palmer Hotel, Windsor Press Club, Windsor Yacht Club, Top Hat Supper Club, Teutonia Club, Drop-In Tavern, Caboto Club, and their current home and practice/workout facility at AKO Park.

More than a Sports Organization

AKO is not just a sports organization, it is also well known for charity work in raising funds for local charities, such as the Goodfellows, assisting with the packing, delivery of gift boxes, and the selling of newspapers, and the Institute for the Blind.

AKO members have worked diligently in carrying out an ambitious programme of fund-raising for development of the 16-acre (65,000 m2) AKO Community Park (in 1953 it was renamed from Rossini Park).

They have installed fencing, ball diamonds, backstops, lighted football field, a filtered pool, 100 ft (30 m) toboggan hill, and playground equipment. In 1961 they constructed Windsor's first Community Centre, the $350,000 AKO Community Centre Building, dedicating it to the five members (Herbert Baker, James Cross, Jack Peck, Louis Reaume, Frank Winegarden Jr.) who lost their lives in World War 2.

Honours

In 1968, the Parks and Recreation Association of Canada (now Canadian Parks and Recreation Association) honored AKO with its highest recognition for youth leadership, monetary contributions, and provisions of better recreational opportunities for the citizens of Windsor.

In 2001 the fraternity was the second recipient of the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame's Board of Directors plaque in recognition of a sports club or association serving youth sports in Windsor and Essex County.[2]

The Windsor AKO Fratmen were the first organization in the Canadian Junior Football League to be honoured by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum. The History Zone in the museum includes a partial replica of the AKO Fratmen football locker room.[3][4]

As part of this locker room exhibit, the Hall of Fame will be displaying memorbilia for the Fratmen's long and rich history. Items to be featured will include, game balls, helmets, uniforms, championship jackets, photographs, some of which were featured in The Windsor Star over the past 50 years as well as newspaper articles chronicling the successes of Fratmen Football through the years with a primary emphasis being placed on AKO's 1952, 1954 and 1999 Canadian Bowl Championship teams.

Sports Sponsorship

The first effort by AKO in sponsorship of recreational activities occurred in 1946, with Junior Football (Pete Sinclair was the member in charge of the Football Committee). Ian Allison was the coach of that first AKO team, their record was 5-2-1, competing against teams from Chatham, London, Woodstock, and Assumption College. The team roster listed such names as Piper, Ross, Brown, Thompson, Zimbalotte, Sahagian, Marcocchio, Monroe, Ducharme, Laliberte, Pyke, LaSorda, Smith, Curgin, Battagello, Richmond, Langlois, Lecoursiera, Dawson, Dominato, Temsey, Borski, Richman, Hamb. With the exception of 1971,72,73, the AKO Fratmen have fielded a team in the Ontario Jr. League, winning three CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS (1952, 54, 99) and making it to the finals in 1990 & 1996.

AKO players who have gone on to prominence in the Canadian Football League are, Schenley Award Winners as Top Canadians, Tommy Grant (CFL Hall of Famer) and Zeno Karcz; Rookies of the Year Bobby Dawson, Ed Mularchyk, Luke Daneliuk; CFL All-Star and Hall of Famer Whit Tucker (his introduction to football was as a 12-year old in the AKO Pee Wee League); Jim Copeland, Bill and Doug Mitchell. In 1957 the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL began their few years of sponsoring the AKO Football Team with a yearly donation of $2000, thus making all AKO players bound to Ottawa. Many outstanding Head Coaches have guided the football team to provincial and national recognition, Johnny Murray (1947-49), Al Newman (1950-63), Ray Ryan & George Arnott (1964-66), Zeno Karcz (1967-69), Dennis Leach & Dave Mollard (1970), Gerry Philp (1974-78), Godfrey Janisse (1979-80), Ted Laurendeau (1981-82), Mike Morencie (1983-95), John Bloomfield (1996-2001)and current Head Coach Mike LaChance (2003-present).

In 1947 AKO introduced sponsorship of Junior Men's Basketball under coach Frank Wansbrough. "Wansy" would coach until 1960, winning Canadian Championships in 1948 & 1960. The Fratmen would go on to capture Canadian Titles in 1970 under coach Doug Cowan, and seven consecutive titles (1974-79) under the co-coaching of Randy and Sam Sasso. That dominance by AKO, seven of the nine titles in the decade of the 70's, was responsible for the demise of the Canadian Amateur Basketball Association's Jr. Championships in 1979, as all the other provinces opted to withdraw from further participation.That move led to the establishment of Provincial Teams competitions for the Canadian Title.

In the late 1940s AKO organized a short-lived Boxing Club, that trained under the Grandstand at Jackson Park.

In 1952 AKO organized Canada's first Minor Football League, a Pee Wee League, that still exists today. The initiator of this programme was John Forrest. In 1953, AKO began their annual sponsorship of a baseball team in the Mic Mac Jr. League, under coach "Knobby" Knudsen. That year they also sponsored seven athletes to represent Windsor at the Canadian Junior Track Championships in Winnipeg, as well as sponsoring a Juvenile Lacrosse Team coached by Frank Mousseau. In 1959 AKO offered a Baseball Clinic with the Detroit Tigers Billy Hoeft and Vic Wertz as instructors.

References

  1. Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame: Hall of Fame: Club Recognition Awards: Alpha Kai Omega http://www.wecshof.org/
  2. Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame http://www.wecshof.org/
  3. http://www.akofraternity.com/
  4. http://www.cfhof.ca/page/history-hall-of-fame

External links

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Alpha Kai Omega Fraternity, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): GrapedApe Search for "Alpha Kai Omega Fraternity" on Google
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