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Dirigo athletes chosen for Frank Keegan awards
Dirigo High School seniors receiving the Frank Keegan Award for winter sports were, from left, Hunter Ross, basketball; Michelle Morrison, cheerleading; Alexis Noyes, basketball; Misty Stewart, wrestling; Kate Bonney, Nordic skiing; and Michael Chow, Nordic skiing.
DIXFIELD -- Recently, six Dirigo High School senior athletes were recipients of the Frank Keegan Award.
The athlete receiving this award must show dedication to his team, and strive in every way to do better than he did the day before.
The athlete must have the desire to do his/her best, to work hard and truly want that which may not be attainable.
Finally, an athlete’s attitude defines them as a person. Attitude reflects leadership qualities, and how well others react to you in certain situations.
The most important lesson that can be learned from Frank Keegan is that life and sports are a challenge. You can lie down and let it roll over you without a fight or you can step up and face it head on. Practices, games, and life challenge our dedication, desire and attitude.
This award exemplifies those athletes of Dirigo High School who have embraced the chance to lead by example and clearly demonstrate the characteristics engraved on this plaque.
Frank Keegan grew up in Presque Isle, competed on the track team, played soccer, basketball and baseball. He attended the University of Maine at Presque Isle, where he met his wife Sandra Hawthorne.
Frank taught and coached at Telstar High School for a couple years before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1970. Stationed at Fork Polk, Louisiana; he worked up the ranks to become a Drill Sergeant. He studied Mortuary Science in Cincinnati and be and Sandra purchased her father’s Farmington Maine Funeral Home.
He became one of Maine’s first paramedic’s and part of a team that broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest recorded time of non-stop CPR.
In 1989 the Keegan family moved to Dixfield, settling in Sandra’s family home at Hawthorne’s Funeral Home. The Keegan’s had two sons and a daughter and were very involved in sports and supported Dirigo athletics. He coached basketball and baseball at the
Dirigo Middle School, encouraging all his those on his teams to do their best and making sure they all played, no matter their ability.
He taught them that it was not about winning, but how much of yourself you gave to the team.
Doctors first found Frank’s cancer in 1987 and then again in 1992. By the time they found the colon cancer the second time, it had spread to other parts of his body. He waged a courageous fight against this mighty foe.
Even though his pain and inability to walk by himself, he was able to watch his oldest son play in his first varsity basketball game in the winter of 1993 as a sophomore at Dirigo High School. Nothing could keep this man down when it came to sports and his family.
In April of 1994 Frank Keegan’s battle with cancer was over.
The Dirigo Sports Boosters and Administrators knew how much Frank meant to the community andDirigo Athletics. They envisioned a new award that would echo some of the characteristics displayed by Frank. Thus, the Frank Keegan Memorial Award for dedication, desire and attitude was conceived.
Thank you to Aaron Keegan, two-time recipient of the Keegan Award, for information used in this article.