One of Idaho's most distinguished citizens has a list of accomplishments that would fill a dictionary of outstanding feats. Wendell Christensen has amassed more than 30 distinguished service awards for his work of more than 39 years in community recreation and leadership.
A native of Utah, Wendell was an outstanding athlete in high school and was a scholarship-athlete at Mesa J.S. in Colorado. Christensen then was a highly-talented varsity basketball player for the Idaho Vandals for three years. A B.S. Degree in Economics from Idaho started his career in recreation in the city of Nampa. He served three years in the Armed Forces during World War II, and has also added minor degrees in Business, Sociology, Recreation, and Physical Education. His outstanding accomplishments resulted in being named "Distinguished Citizen -State of Idaho" by the Idaho Statesman newspaper in 1 96 7. He also added the honor of being selected as "People to People" Ambassador to Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, and Tahiti in 1968.
His great program at Nampa was chosen to host the Superintendent of Education and Recreation from Iran for a two-week study. He served as a board member of the National Parks and Recreation Association, American Red Cross, United Way, Community Education, Salvation Army, Idaho Parks and Recreation Association, Parole Officer, and Boy Scouts of America, just to name a few. His development of a community center from an old Nampa fire hall led to the naming of this facility -the "Wendell Christensen Community Center."
He also was the leader in developing school and recreation areas, and the knack of getting the citizens of the community involved is one of his great talents. He was one of the founders of the Idaho State Parks and Recreation Society. He led in forming the Community Education Program in Nampa. He has been a basketball and softball official and coach, and served as District 3 Softball Commissioner. His pride and joy is the municipal "Centennial Gott Course." He led the community in donating more than $ 1 million in money and labor for its construction.
He led the eight-year project by also getting more than $300,000 in donated materials for the completed course. The first nine holes were dedicated in 1987, followed by the completed 18-hole course in 1988. Christensen has been a leader in opening facilities of tennis courts, swimming pool, racquet courts, picnic areas and jogging paths, with more to come for the city of Nampa. Wendell and his wife, Fem, have several children, 23 grandchildren, and one grandchild. For his fantastic career, the State of Idaho and the city of Nampa join us in welcoming Wendell Christensen to the Idaho Hall of Fame.