Kenai Central skiers are a busy bunch, participating in workouts, preparing for the next race, figuring out various wax combinations, but they recently took some time to remember two people who helped them get to where they are today.
The waxing room the team uses was dedicated in honor of David Feeken and Cindy Rehm on Jan. 3. Both Feeken and Rehm passed away just months apart. Feeken died in October 2008, and Rehm died in a car accident in February 2009.
“Dave was very dedicated to the skiers, and he had his schedule worked around the ski team,” Kenai head ski coach D’Anna Gibson said. “He really pushed the skiers above and beyond that next level, he really wanted them to excel.
“He called me one day and asked what I was doing, and I said ‘What do you mean?’ and he said, ‘Want to help me coach?’ so I did.”
Gibson started coaching with Feeken for the next three years, and in 2008, Rehm came into the picture.
“Cindy had coached at Cook Inlet Academy, and her daughter came over to the school, so she became a ‘team mom’ coach,” Gibson said. “She was a big help, always asking kids, ‘Do you have your boots? Do you have your skis?’ So she kept them on task.
“She skied with the slower skiers usually, or rather the less-accomplished skiers. She stayed with them and made it fun. When you’re just learning how to ski, and you’re thrown out into a 7.5K race, it can be intimidating, so Cindy always made them feel welcome.”
Feeken was born in January 1949, in McCook, Neb., and made the move to Alaska in 1984 with his wife, Glenda, where they went into the real estate business. He was a coach not only for the ski team, but also served as a mentor in the Peninsula Bike Club.
Born in August 1950 in San Antonio, Rehm moved to Alaska with her family in 1965, where her father was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base. Rehm found a calling in Kenai, with her husband, Saylor, and purchased a ReMax franchise.
“Dave started the dream of getting a wax shack built, and when he passed away we carried on with the plans,” Gibson said. “Since Dave and Cindy were such an integral part of the team, we thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this room to them, so people wouldn’t forget who they were.”
Because each building has a designated number, the team is not able to actually name the building after them, but they can certainly dedicate the building to them.
A plaque was hung up on the wall, a simple picture frame with pictures of Feeken and Rehm.
Looking toward the Kenai Klassic race today and Saturday, the absence of the two team supporters will be felt, but the team will continue to race hard, using every bit of advice both coaches gave them.
The Kenai Klassic starts today with a freestyle race, and ends Saturday with a classic-style sprint.