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Palmerton inducts Kuns, Heffelfinger, Lentz

Published April 30. 2011 09:00AM

The Carbon County Area Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will induct its 2011 class at a banquet on Sunday, May 29 at Memorial Hall in Jim Thorpe.

This will be the 18th class to be inducted by the Carbob County Chapter.

Doors open at 1 p.m.. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for children between the ages of 6-12.

Tickets can be purchased from any of the following people: Art George 610-826-2830; Jake Boyer 610-751-6634; Danny McGinley 570-325-3550; Tom Wehr 570-366-2694; Trevor Lawrence 570-645-4722; Ted Bortnick 570-645-9575; Emmett McCall 570-645-2093; Bob Gelatko 570-645-8652; John Harkins 570-645-2627; Tom McGrath 570-668-2237; Gary Clemson 570-668-1066; Tom Pilla 570-669-6666; Bill Gardiner 570-669-6564.

The TIMES NEWS will run brief biographies of all the inductees during the next several Saturdays. Today's featured class is from Palmerton.



Heffelfinger graduated from Palmerton High School in 1937. He was an outstanding multi-sport athlete with four letters in basketball, four in baseball and three in track and field. He scored double figures in basketball and as a freshman, helped PHS (22-5) win the Lehigh Valley League title and a third straight PIAA District 11 title and extend their LVL win streak to 69. He was the leading rebounder his final three years and second leading scorer his junior and senior years. He was co-captain his senior year. The team record during the years he played was 65.24.

Heffelfinger was also a starting pitcher for four years, and played American Legion baseball during the summer. He pitched PHS to the LVL title his sophomore season and was the mainstay of the PHS staff during his junior and senior seasons. He also played second base, hitting .384 one season.

Heffelfinger threw the shot put, discus and javelin in track and field.

After graduation, Heffelfinger pitched for the Kingsport Cherokees (1938-39), the Owensboro Oilers (1939), the Evansville Bees (1940) and Topeka (1941). While playing for Owensboro, he met his future wife, Billie Hicks, an Owensboro native. They were married in 1945.

Heffelfinger enlisted in the Army in 1943 and served in Europe during World War II. After being discharged in 1945, it was reported that he was offered contracts with two major league organizations, but chose to remain in the Palmerton area. He worked for the Chestnut Ridge Railroad.

Heffelfinger and Billie had three children Robert of Newark, Delaware; William of Louisville, Kentucky; and Dayton of Owensboro, Kentucky.

Heffelfinger was tragically killed on August 7, 1950 at the age of 32 in a workplace accident.


Kun graduated from Palmerton High School in 1958. While there, he lettered in both football and baseball. In football, he was starting fullback, middle linebacker and team captain in his junior and senior years. In baseball, he played left field.

After graduation, Kun attended Stevens Trade School in Lancaster from 1958-60. At Stevens, Kun was the starting fullback and middle linebacker. He also was a member of the Stevens wrestling team where he competed at both the 191-pound and heavyweight classes.

In 1961, Kun accepted an athletic scholarship for football at Iowa State University. At Iowa State, he started at the defensive end/outside linebacker position, lettering in both his junior and senior years. He was a member of the Iowa State wrestling team for one year. Kun graduated from Iowa State in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education.

Kun enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. He was selected to attend Naval Flight School. After graduating, he went to Vietnam where he flew the UH-1E Huey Gunship and CH-46 Helicopters. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross while under enemy fire.

In 1970, Kun entered the U.S. Secret Service as a Special Agent. He retired from the Secret Service as a Senior Executive Service Member and Special Agent in Charge of Philadelphia District.

In 1996, he joined Wyeth Pharmaceuticals as head of their Golbal Security Division. He retired from Wyeth in January 2008.

Kun and his wife Barbara reside in Bryn Mawr, Pa., and have two children, Michael and Amanda.


Kun is a 1961 graduate of Palmerton Area High School where he was a standout in both football and track. In football, he was a punishing fullback and played tenacious defense in the secondary. The league and area coaches rated him as the best fullback for his performance.

In track and field, his specialities were 100 yard dash (10.2 seconds), 220 yard dash (23.5) and the long jump (21-4 1/2).

In 1961, Kun helped his team win the Lehigh Valley Dual Meet Championship, the Lehigh Valley League Meet Championship and District 11 Class B Meet Championship. In the District 11Meet he placed first in the long jump setting a meet record of 20-5 1/2. This qualified him for the State Meet where he placed fifth. He won the Carbon County/Panther Valley Area scoring title in track and field with a total of 101 points.

After graduation, he received a full football scholarship to Wichita State. After a year there, Kun transfered to East Stroudsburg State where he participated in football and track. In track, he competed in the 100 yard dash (with a best time of 9.9 seconds) on the 440 yard relay team. In the field events, he threw the shot put, javelin and long jumped.

In football, Kun was the starting fullback when East Stroudsburg State won both the 1964 and 1965 Pennsylvania Athletic Conference Championships. In the 1964 game, Kun rushed for 107 yards on 11 carries.

Kun graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with a certification in Physical Education. He began his teaching career in New Jersey. It was at this time that Kun was contacted by the Oakland Raiders, the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles all of whom had scouted him. He didn't respond to any of the teams because he felt obligated to honor the teacher contract he had signed and he was married with a child.

In 1967, Kun moved to Pleasant Valley High School in Broheadsville to teach Physical Education. In addition to teaching, Kun was an assistant coach in football and track and field. He also started the wrestling program on an intramural basis until a head coach was hired.

In 1969, Kun became the head football coach. Kun's head coaching tenure ended in 1973. He retired from teaching in 1996.

Kun married his high school sweeatheart, Sandy, who passed away in 1998. He has one daughter, Missy, who is married to Richard DeSocia, and two grandchildren, Eli and Nika.


Lentz is a 1977 graduate of Palmerton Area High School. He participated in basketball and cross country, as well as track and field during his high school years.

As a junior on the track team, Lentz began to grow as a top flight pole vaulter helping the Bombers win the Centennial League Dual Meet Championship, the Centennial League Meet Championship and the Carbon County Meet Championship.

At the league meet during his junior year, Lentz took a first-place with a vault of 12-6. At the District 11 Class AA meet, although he went higher, going 12-9, he had to settle for a fourth-place finish.

As a senior, Lentz again was instrumental in scoring key points for the team in his event, helping the Bombers win the Centennial League Dual Meet Championship as well as the Centennial League Meet Championship. The team record during his last two years at Palmerton was 18-1 overall and 16-0 in league meets.

Lentz was the Centennial League Meet Pole Vault Champion, going 14-3 , which set the meet record. He followed this up by becoming the District 11 Class AA champion with a vault of 13-6, a new meet record. This qualified Lentz for the PIAA State Track and Field Championship held at Shippensburg University.

At the 1977 State meet, Lentz realized his dream to become the PIAA State Vault Champion, soaring 14-1 1/2, setting a new meet record.

Lentz went to the University of Maryland and joined the track and field team. The team was Atlantic Coast Conference champions in 1980 and 1981.

Vaulting at the Penn Relays, and despite cold weather, Lentz cleared 16-feet to take third place. He continued to have quite a year with the Terps and as a result earned an athletic scholarship for the following year.

In the IC4A Championships in 1982, Lentz cleared 16-7 that got him second place and a trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships.

During his senior outdoor season, His best vault of 17- 1/2 came at the Carolina Relays. Later that season, at the Pitt Relays at the University of Pittsburgh, Lentz vaulted wide right and partially missed the landing pit. This impact broke a small bone in his foot, ending his career.

Lentz now lives in Purcellville, Virginia with his wife Kathy and identical twin daughters Emily and Bethany.

Lentz has an MS and MBA from the University of Maryland. He worked for the American Online internet company, for the past 17 years.

Lentz's competitiveness and love of the thrill tranferred to Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) club racing. He is consistently one of the top racers in his class.

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