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Centralia College Foundation, TransAlta team to offer benefit elk hunt
Posted: 2/14/2012 When Dave Sherwood went missing while hunting for elk in rugged territory near Mount St. Helens in Washington state this past November, his co-workers, friends and family organized an intense search which lasted four days.

Tragically, Dave, 56, fell down a steep ravine and died. While Dave is deeply missed, several of his coworkers in Centralia mentioned Dave died doing what he loved – spending time in the woods hunting.

Back at the coal plant in Centralia, his friends remembered how Dave was gearing up for his elk hunt.

“He was so pumped, I remember the day he drew that tag,” said Kipp Coverdell, a maintenance supervisor for TransAlta in Centralia. “He was real excited; talked about it every day. He took off the week before to scout it.”

Talk in the shop turned to finding a way to memorialize Dave, who was in charge of outside resources and considered one of the key managers in Centralia.

Jim Guenther, a family friend and mechanic at the plant, said in the past the company raised money for the United Way by allowing for an elk hunt on the thousands of acres of reclaimed mine property. With the elk herd increasing year after year, TransAlta also allows limited hunts for seniors and disabled hunters.

“There’s a lot of outdoorsmen in the shop,” Guenther said. “We thought we’d have the hunt, raise money and donate it to the charity of choice, and it just took off from there.”

Starting next week, the fundraising for the Dave Sherwood Memorial Scholarship Elk Hunt begins. Raffle tickets sell for $25. All proceeds go toward scholarships in Dave’s name at Centralia College, his alma mater. The winning ticket will be drawn in early May. Organizers hope to make it an annual event.

Dennis Hilliard, a heavy equipment operator at the Centralia mine, was a friend and fellow hunter. Hilliard plans on buying a raffle ticket or two to support the scholarship fund, as do many at the mine and plant. The raffle is also open to the public.

Hilliard said “Whoever gets the tag, if they’re any hunter at all are about guaranteed to get a bull,” adding there’s one out there that is a 7 by 8 point.

Dave’s wife Sue is grieving, but was grateful for the memorial fundraiser effort. She said Dave was helped in his schooling with scholarship money, and earned first a civil engineering technical degree then a bachelor’s degree in business science through Centralia College.

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