When you drive into Centralia, Illinois, you’re greeted by a sign welcoming you to the “Home of the Winningest H.S. Basketball Team in the Nation.”
One of the next things you see is One Hope United’s Centralia campus, with its newly restored basketball court.
One Hope United’s board of directors raised funds to renovate the court – which serves as the heart of the campus and a gathering and recreation space for youth – and dedicated it as the Forrest D. and June L. Sprehe Court of Hope.
Forrest Sprehe was a Centralia resident and longtime board member of One Hope United’s downstate region. He and his wife, June, were well known for their volunteerism and community support throughout the area.
“I know Dad was involved in a lot of organizations, from the school board to his industry organizations, but One Hope United was closest to his and Mom’s heart,” said their son, Greg Sprehe, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a board member, most recently as board chair.
“It was all about family for them,” Greg added. “Extending the resources they had – particularly the time Dad spent working with the organization – was, I know he would say, the most important work he ever did.”
Misty Sprehe Wright and Greg Sprehe
In addition to Greg’s service on the board, he and his wife, Victoria, frequently spend time on the Centralia campus, particularly around the holiday season, when they help the youth prepare dishes and decorate for the annual holiday party.
Their dedication to service “doesn’t happen by accident; that’s a family value,” said Melissa Webster, One Hope United’s director of programs in Centralia. “And we know that that’s a generational value.”
Both Greg and his sister, Misty Sprehe Wright, played in Centralia High School’s famed basketball program, so for them, the court was a fitting tribute to their parents.
“These are our roots,” said Misty, who became Centralia’s first female to play basketball in grade school – playing on the boys team – and went on to become a PE teacher and coach. Addressing the Centralia campus youth at the court dedication, she said, “We have great memories, and we hope all you residents – you amazing, wonderful kids – enjoy basketball and enjoy these facilities as much as we have.”
The October 4, 2017, dedication was attended by the Sprehe family and friends, Centralia community members, youth living on the Centralia campus, and One Hope United staff from Centralia and beyond. The youth wasted no time making use of the basketball court, inaugurating it with a tournament immediately following the program.
“With the Sprehe family, it’s always been about the focus on kids and families and helping them reach their greatest potential,” said Scott Humphrey, President and CEO of One Hope United. “In my book, there’s nobody that embodies our vision about ‘life without limits’ better than the Sprehe family.”