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Bombers to retire Metso’s jersey

Rich Newman remembers being in grade school, waiting to get into the old Barnum stage gymnasium to watch the Bombers and must-see-basketball-post-player Ron Metso.

During halftime Friday against Polar League neighbor Carlton, the Bombers will honor the late Metso as the first player in the small school’s history to have his jersey retired.

The Jan. 17 celebration will be short in comparison to a man’s love for Barnum and dedication to its student-athletes.

Metso, who helped the Bombers to the 1975 District 25 championship, graduated in 1976, before the prolific post player spent four years at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Later, an accident left Metso paralyzed below the waist. He passed away on July 22, 2012, but not before donating to a scholarship fund and the school’s trophy case.

“Even through all of the things he went through, he always had a positive attitude — he just never gave up,” said Newman, now in his 17th season coaching the Bombers boys, noting Metso’s No. 40 jersey will be preserved in the trophy case. “This is important here in Barnum. We want to do something special. People like him only come around a couple of times.”