IN ALLI’S HONOR
Huss family gives back to a number of FD endeavors
The relationships Huss built growing up in Fort Dodge weren’t restricted by school districts, churches or neighborhoods. She was a friend to everyone who knew her, regardless of personal backgrounds.
That mentality was adopted when the Huss family first approached the idea of a golf tournament in her honor back in 2016, a little over a year after Alli had passed away at the age of 18. The event was going to be inclusive — just the way she would want it.
The 42STRONG mantra was born as an homage to Alli’s basketball jersey number. And it immediately flourished.
“We had no idea, when the four of us (Alli’s dad, Joe, and her three uncles) got together with mom (Elaine) and dad (Denny) and kicked around the idea of a golf outing, that we’d be sitting here in this position today,” said Alli’s uncle, 1996 St. Edmond graduate B.J. Huss. “It’s a real testament to the community, what it meant to Alli, and what Alli meant to Fort Dodge.
“We’re a big Catholic family, but at the end of the day, our focus was giving back to the people who were there for Alli in her time of need. That included people from everywhere. I think it’s impressive how much the community rallies behind a cause and to help each other. Everyone has each other’s back in Fort Dodge.”
On Friday, the fifth and final 42STRONG tourney was held at Lakeside Golf Course. A full field of 36 teams — 144 players — participated, but the Huss family had a few special presentations to make before the first shot was hit.
Two more scholarships in Alli’s name were presented for the fifth consecutive year to graduating seniors in the 2020 class at both St. Edmond (Cambrie McBride) and Fort Dodge Senior High (Brycen Bell). The Fort Dodge Police Foundation also received a $1,000 check in memory of Kevin Doty and Steve Springer, who both died this past year.
“Kevin and Steve did so much for the people of Fort Dodge,” B.J. said. “We felt they embodied what both Alli and 42STRONG stood for.”
The group also pledged $3,000 to the Fort Dodge Parks and Recreation Department, earmarked for a future project in Alli’s name.
The Fort Dodge Community Schools Foundation was presented a $25,000 check, given to FDCSD superintendent Dr. Jesse Ulrich and Foundation director Nik Moser. St. Edmond received a $42,000 check, extended to its president, Mary Gibb.
“We told the schools we would like for it to touch on both academic and athletic endeavors,” B.J. Huss said. “I think this was a fitting way to end this five-year run. We wanted to keep the memory of Alli’s generous heart alive, and I think we’ve accomplished that.”
The surprise presentation came when Alli’s parents, Joe and Sue, were presented basketballs from former teammate and close friend Anna Yung on behalf of the Gael basketball program.
“There was always kind of a question about Alli’s final (career point total in basketball),” B.J. said. “Pat Hassett did some extensive research and found out that Alli had actually finished with over 1,000 points (Huss’s original total was 984) and that they were missing two games (pushing her to 1,012). It was verified through QuikStats.
“None of us (from the family) really knew about this, other than maybe Dee a little (Alli’s aunt). So it was great to have her recognized (as just the fourth 1,000-point scorer in St. Edmond 5-on-5 girls history, joining Yung, Jennifer Perkins and Alison Nagel). Kirk (Yung, Anna’s father) gave a heartfelt speech at the end, and had everyone in tears.”
Alli, the 2014 Carol Donnelly Award winner as the top female senior student-athlete at SEHS, was an all-state basketball player and all-conference volleyball honoree. On the hardwood, the Gaels captured three consecutive North Central Conference championships during her career.
Alli had committed to play basketball for Iowa Central Community College before she received her cancer diagnosis in 2014. The program honored her scholarship, and she even participated in warmups before a Triton game in November of 2014.
St. Edmond and Fort Dodge Senior High combined to raise well over $30,000 between its baseball and softball programs in support of Alli’s cancer fight during the summer of 2014. She said at the time, ”Words can’t describe how grateful I am for the Fort Dodge family. It’s truly amazing to see the support from the community, whether they wear green and white or red and black.”
The Huss family “just wanted to extend a huge, heart-felt thank you to everyone,” B.J. said.
“It’s been a blessing — something we’re all proud of, being able to raise over $80,000 for the community in her name. I know Alli would feel the same way.”