"Glory Days"---OFF the field: Along the Way
In 1979... a big strong football star from Custer, Doug Herrmann, went off to play for one of the best college football teams of the era.
But it's not *those glory days* ---'on the field' this story is about.
It's about what he's done since then 'off the field'.
In this story, we go "Along the Way" to find out where he's been, where he is now, and why it's a perfect fit.
For the past 9 months, now 55 year old Doug Herrmann has been the Executive Director of Rapid City's Club for Boys.
But his path to this place started long ago.
Back in the late 1970's while playing for Custer High School Doug Herrmann was a dominating figure on the football field. After graduating from Custer he went on to play for the University of Nebraska.
He's pretty humble about those days when he played Defensive Tackle for the Cornhuskers, among the top teams in college football.
One of the only souvenirs in his office is his old helmet, tucked in a corner.
Doug Herrmann, Executive Director of The Club For Boys, says "and then had a chance to play in 3 orange bowls and a sun bowl and really got quite the experience, got to go to Hawaii and play there for a game
so there's a lot of things that obviously was obviously quite exciting and a great experience for a 20 something year old"
In fact, we had to ask him to bring in some stuff to show us, like this jersey he wore in one of the two national championship games they played in.
For some, that high profile football, might be the highlight of their life.
But for Doug Herrmann, his biggest life impact was only beginning...and it would not be on the field, but tackling another issue.
Doug Herrmann, Executive Director of The Club For Boys, says "I realized I really wanted to work specifically with youth and more of a counselor be someone that's more involved with them on a personal level, so that's kind of how I moved into my career of working in juvenile justice."
So for a total of 30 years this big bear of a man, with a soft heart, worked in juvenile justice. For about 15 of those years he worked in institutions, residential facilities for kids--both boys and girls, who had been found guilty by a judge of delinquent acts.
By the time he retired in March of this year, he was in charge, as the Juvenile Division Director for all committed youth, for the South Dakota Department of Corrections.
Doug Herrmann says "We would say we have the highest risk population because these are the ones the judges think need
to be removed and need more significant intervention than the typical probation kid may need so."
While they were dealing with kids, they were dealing with some grown up offenses, like robberies, sex offense, burglaries, and he says a lot of drug offenses.
Doug Herrmann, Executive Director of The Club For Boys, says "When you get to know their stories, sometimes you would say, there's not that much difference between them and I, but I would recognize that I had a lot of good people around me who could help and make a difference, and sometimes they don't have that strong adult role model who can really kind of provide the direction and guidance, when they need it the most."
He retired in March of 2016 , And the next month, April of this year, Doug started as Executive Director of the Club for Boys.
A perfect next step, moving from corrections to prevention working with kids from age 6 to 17.
Doug Herrmann, Executive Director of The Club For Boys, says ,"We were always repairing young men and young women. We were always having to repair. Here we build them, we build them up. We're not repairing, it's an opportunity to build fine young men."
We were at the club during a quiet time when the kids were at school...but the club has 13 hundred and 50 members. They provide a whole range of after school activities. After school from 3 to about 8 o'clock there's a ton of choices for the boys, including dinner in the club cafeteria.
Doug Herrmann, Executive Director of The Club For Boys, says "You can do that very effectively if you have the right interventions, provide the right opportunities, for 6 year olds, 8 years olds, 10 year olds, um you can really make a difference in their life at that age."
And for Doug Herrmann, that's what it's all about, providing opportunities, helping kids be successful, it's been his life's work...and that work continues now, at the Rapid City Club for Boys.
Doug also spent a year with the NFL's Washington Redskins.
The Club for Boys tries to eliminate any barriers to kids joining. They pick the kids up from school and bring them to the Club.
And a full year's membership costs just 12 dollars.
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