Local sportscaster retires after 57 years, to work full-time on late daughter’s dream

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT
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KNOX, Ind. (WNDU) - A local sports radio anchor is hanging up the headset after 57 years in the business.

Considered the voice of northwest Indiana high school sports, WKVI-FM’s Harold Welter called his final games about two weeks ago, broadcasting the play-by-play for the South Central softball and baseball teams’ respective state and semi-state title runs.

“I don’t like the word ‘retirement.’ I like the word ‘readjustment,’” said Welter.

While the 77-year-old Welter is also retiring from his Knox financial services business, he is “retiring to” full-time work on the vision of his daughter, Cheryl Lyn.

“We’ve got a sign on our wall that [my wife] Becky and I got as a wedding gift, and, and on there is the quote from Romans 8:28 that says, ‘All things work together for good to those who love God,’” Harold started. “And it took me a long time to figure this out. But it doesn’t say, ‘All good things, or ‘All easy things,’ or, ‘All of my favorite things.’ It says, ‘All things.’ And so when I finally figured that out, I thought maybe that means challenging things and even bad things. And frankly, that’s why we decided to go ahead with the foundation, because we wanted something good to come out of the worst thing that can possibly happen to parents losing a child.”

From high school football to sports radio legacy

Harold Welter had always loved sports and tried out for the Knox High School football team.

“I missed a block on a guy who later on went to start Purdue University who was on our team, and I missed a block on Dave Piper, and my coach looked at me, and he said, ‘You know, Welter, you talk a good game.’ So I kind of took that and ran with it,” he laughed.

After serving two years in the Army, he attended broadcasting school and said he “was lucky” to get a radio job in Rensselaer. A man named Bob Hayes, Welter said, taught him the ropes of play-by-play announcing.

“One of the things that he told me is that if you don’t have a lot of knowledge, make up for it with enthusiasm. So that’s what I’ve tried to do,” said Welter.

Anyone listening to Welter’s 3,000 broadcasts can quickly discern his excitement for an eye-catching play.

“He has his catchphrases,” said WKFVI listener Brian McMahan.

Even the youth who listened to Welter’s radio broadcasts adopted his signatures like, “Unbelievable!” and “Keep the faith!” - projecting those in the school hallways.

“You know where the kids heard it from first,” McMahan added.

Continuing Cheryl Lyn’s dream

Cheryl Lyn Welter was an exceptional athlete at Knox High School. But others might have said her character topped her athletic abilities.

“I can’t tell you how many of her classmates came up to her mom and I and said, ‘Cheryl was my best friend. Cheryl was my best friend.’ And she had convinced them all that she was their best friend, because she just loved people and, and wanted to help,” described Welter.

Cheryl Lyn had plans to study family and child counseling at Purdue University but was killed in an auto accident the night before her senior year homecoming on October 12th, 2000.

“This is her organ donor pin that I wear every day of my life,” Harold gestured. “And it reminds me of how much she cared. And it reminds me that because she cared, somewhere out there, there’s a person walking around and literally seeing the world through Cheryl’s eyes.”

Her spirit also lives on through the Cheryl Lyn Welter Charitable Foundation.

“The goal of the, of the foundation is to change the lives of underprivileged kids in rural schools. And we do that by working with teachers and others who work with underprivileged kids,” explained Welter.

Since 2018, the foundation has awarded $60,000 worth of small grants to teachers across 13 school corporations in the Kankakee Valley area of Michiana. Teachers have received funding to pay for anything ranging from art supplies to a Spanish class field trip for students in the Tri-Township Consolidated School Corporation (located in LaPorte County).

“Being a 2001 [high school] graduate, knowing that Cheryl and I would be the same age right now, and knowing that she wanted to get into helping kids and helping others, it’s a great privilege knowing, knowing her dad and knowing her family, and how much they have been all about high school kids and, and knowing that she would be doing the same thing now,” said Brian McMahan, principal at Tri-Township Schools.

Welter offered his perspective on Cheryl Lyn’s death.

“And she’s touched more lives maybe because of this, and because of what we’re able to do with the Cheryl Lyn Welter Charitable Foundation than maybe she would have if she had still been with us,” he raised.

While he shifts to working on the foundation, Welter is taken aback by the words people are sharing about his radio career.

“I got a text from a former athlete. And he said ‘You,’ he said, ‘You were the sound of my childhood,’” recalled Welter. “I never thought about, about affecting people like that. But that’s, that’s a privilege. That is, is something I never thought of. I was just doing my thing...

“I never wanted it to be about me. I wanted, I wanted it to be about the kids. And of course, a lot of those kids are now retirees. And for them to remember, is pretty, pretty special.”

How to donate to the Cheryl Lyn Welter Charitable Foundation

To donate to underprivileged children in rural schools, text CHERYL to 71777.

Click here for more information.

Welter said the foundation will be expanding to help more children.

Copyright 2022 WNDU. All rights reserved.

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