From Houston to Michigan: IR Hall of Fame inductees ask grads to serve others

Date Published: 
June 10, 2016

Coastal Point submitted • Vincent E. MumfordCoastal Point submitted • Vincent E. MumfordWhen students graduate from high school, they have decades of life still ahead of them. Indian River High School is again honoring alumni who have made the IRHS family proud with the 2016 Hall of Fame inductions.

Usually, there is just one inductee each year, but this year, two alumni were honored for their service to the community: Vincent E. Mumford (1983) in sports leadership and V. Graig Temple (1993) in emergency services.

“We are looking for high standards and representation up there, so to see two this year is incredible,” Principal Bennett Murray said at the May 25 graduating senior awards night. “There’s so many great Indian River High School alumni — not only in our area, but throughout the nation and world — giving back in [many] ways,” Murray said.

The Indian River High School Alumni Association re-started the Hall of Fame in 2013, honoring grads who have made significant achievements their professional lives and noteworthy contributions to society. They hope that will help inspire the next generation of students.

Mumford from Michigan

Living in Mount Pleasant, Mich., Mumford is a college professor in physical education and sport at the Central Michigan University College of Health Professions. His expertise has also led him to become a speaker, consultant and author, as well as executive director for Center for Global Sport Leadership, which aims to use sport for a greater good.

He has served in many collegiate sports leadership positions, improving the educational programs in New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, Maryland and Tennessee, even teaching leadership at the Disney Institute in Walt Disney World.

He’s published more than 30 papers on gender and racial participation in the classroom and sports field.

Mumford created the Frances L. Hall Charitable Foundation to give IRHS scholarships, and he was IR’s 2005 commencement speaker.

His service has also won him the American Red Cross Michigan Heroes Award, United States Marine Corps Commander’s Award, Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service Learning Award, Outstanding Mentor of the Year and many more.

“[Indian River is] a place that provided me with the very foundations, provided me with an education that was second to none, and allowed me to compete with anybody in the world,” Mumford said.

But that story almost never happened, Mumford said, and the May 25 ceremony was his chance to thank the IR staff who paved his way.

Great teachers, including Jack Watkins and Mark Steele, and coach Howard Smack, inspired him to serve in those positions, too, he said.

Counselor Babette Sutton gave him the encouragement — and the money — to take the SAT exam in the spring of his senior year, which put him on the previously-unexpected path toward college.

He said he still wishes he could find Sutton, to say, “Thank you.”

“They gave a little extra and, in doing so, they helped inspire the dream,” Mumford said. “Literally my life changed in a hallway conversation or by a teacher who inspired me, and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from in physical education, then a doctorate in educational leadership, all from the University of Delaware.

He also thanked his sister and late mother for being role models.

“Always give a little extra. Give your time, give your talent and give your treasures to causes that you believe in,” Mumford said. “You will help change lives and, in doing so, will help change the world.”

Temple from Texas

Coastal Point Submitted • Graig TempleCoastal Point Submitted • Graig TempleTemple’s entire professional life began when, at 15, he became a fourth-generation volunteer at the Millville Volunteer Fire Company. He rose through the ranks, even reaching ambulance captain and fire chief.

Now living in Spring, Texas, he’s the chief of the Ford Bend County EMS department, overseeing 112 employees and a $12 million budget.

“It wasn’t for pay, and it wasn’t for benefits, and it wasn’t for any recognition,” Temple said. “It was because, as a community member, I felt that it was my job to step up and to help the community. So my volunteer service has paid me back over, time and time again.”

All of his professional milestones stemmed from his first fire service, leading to positions including assistant fire chief of operations in the massive Anchorage (Alaska) Fire Department.

On a volunteer and professional level, he’s always looked to further his own training, then teach others.

At Columbia Southern University in Alabama, he earned a master’s degree in emergency services management and bachelor’s and associate degrees in fire science.

“The personal satisfaction that you get from helping someone in any way is truly immense,” Temple said. With volunteerism seemingly decreasing across the country, he said, “We all need to step up. We need to challenge ourselves to look at the issues, look at the community movements we have, look at the passions we have internally, and put ourselves out there a little bit more.”

As high school grads take the next step in life, he advised them, “Look for those community initiatives that you can be a part of. How can you make a difference?”

Besides serving at the Delaware State Fire School and with the Sussex County paramedics, he also led the Bethany Beach and Ocean City (Md.) fire departments.

Good leaders communicate their vision, then see things through, Temple said. Moreover, they take care of the people they lead.

“Empower those that you lead, because one day they’re going to come back and ask you to be a mentor,” said Temple, thanking his own mentors and now serving as one for others.

“Anything is possible if you have the dedication, passion and desire to accomplish it. Don’t settle. Even if it takes a little while longer, stay the course,” Temple told the Class of 2016. “I’ve been following Indian River ever since I left … and I see great things in this class. So, congratulations.”

He shared his pride in being an IR alumnus.

“Always be proud of where you come from, but let that past be your springboard to where you’re going to be in the future. Wherever you take you career, your education or your life, it all starts here,” Temple said.