Back during his youth in New York City, Peter Finn saved money from his paper route to be able to ride the subway to reach Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

"Growing up in New York, they put a chip in you that when you're born, you become a Yankee fan," he said.

Years later after crossing the country to Oregon, Finn's own children played a role in his heavy involvement in athletics. And not just as a coach, but also as a volunteer in various other ways from refereeing games to selling 50-50 raffle tickets for the Booster Club.

For contributions to local athletics for close to 30 years, the 67-year-old Finn is the newest member of the Philomath Legend Club, inducted during halftime of Friday night's boys basketball game.

"Once you have kids, you realize you're not the most important thing in the world anymore and being willing to share your time and resources with other people is far more important," Finn said. "It's just kind of an epiphany that you have when you have kids — that life is more about giving to others and sharing than it is about you."

Any locals that don't know him will most certainly recognize his face as a coach, referee and through the Philomath Youth Activities Club. On top of that, he's been involved in several construction projects over the years ranging from the Philomath Community Library to baseball and softball dugouts, the batting cage field house and the new baseball scoreboard.

Finn coached youth athletics for a combined 25 years through various organizations such as the PYAC, Junior Baseball Organization, Little League and with the high school baseball program.

Finn moved from New York to Oregon in 1972 to take classes at Oregon State University.

"I only went for one term and wanted to work for six months," Finn said. "I was paying out-of-state tuition, so I wanted to pay residence tuition and I started working. I've been working ever since."

Finn's decision to not return to school didn't slow him down, however, as owner of a construction company.

Wayne Howard, who was inducted into the Legend Club as an inaugural member in 2011, teamed up with Finn on the community library construction project in the 1990s.

"There was a committee and we volunteered to do the general contracting," Finn said. "We did most of the hands-on work building that thing and organizing the work parties."

Howard and Finn were naturals to lead the construction because they had the ability to read the blueprints and knew where to place all the volunteers.

Finn enjoyed working on the home dugouts for the PHS baseball and softball teams as well.

"Whether it was coach (Terry) Stephenson or coach (Levi) Webber, coaches always have a goal of improving the facilities as we go on," Finn said. "I think the dugouts were fun because I worked with Coach Stephenson and Coach (Dave) Dunham ... we worked together after work each night."

The most recent big project was the school's batting cages with Finn working on things like netting and lighting.

So, it's no big surprise that his favorite memories involve baseball. Finn couldn't recall the exact year, but a highlight as a coach occurred when Philomath defeated Newport and took the conference title. His son, Michael (Class of 2009), hit a home run that put the Warriors ahead in the game.

Finn's older daughter, Katie (Class of 2001), pitched for the Warriors in high school and earned a full scholarship to play softball at the Division I level for Bethune-Cookman in Florida. His younger daughter, Kara (Class of 2004), played catcher and third base at PHS.

The Legend Club dates back to 2011.

"It was kind of an idea in a way to pay tribute to some people in our community who volunteered to the school district over and above," said director Steve Bennett, who started the club back when he served as the PHS athletic director. "Our members initially, after a couple of years, discussed it and set criteria that they looked at for new members."

The criteria includes people who have offered strong support to Philomath athletics over time through different types of contributions, whether volunteering or financial.

"We meet every spring, the Legend Club group, and we have lunch and tell stories and sooner or later, and it gets to where they will nominate members of the community that we think would be a good fit," Bennett said. "I keep a list of those nominations and try to put together some bio information and volunteer info on those nominees the best I can."

Bennett then discusses them with the committee and they vote on the newest member. For the first six years, multiple people were brought in but for the last two, there have been single individuals.

Those who come into the group are offered a lifetime pass to Philomath athletics and an optional letterman's jacket.

Finn said he was surprised and humbled by the honor.

"I will say that when Steve asked me, I thought there were lots of other people that do more work around town than I do," he said.

But Finn did want to take advantage of the opportunity to get a message across to young people.

"You don't have to have a big pedigree in sports to be able to use your talents in the community with whatever you've got, whether it's building or teaching or coaching," he said. "Just having that mentality of service has been a huge thing in this town from 1972 when I came here until now. Anytime there are group activities, people gang together and get stuff done."

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