VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) - The head softball coach of the Ridgefield High School Spudders has died after a lengthy battle with heart disease, the Ridgefield School District said Wednesday.
FOX 12 first reported about Dusty Anchors in 2018 when he learned of his terminal heart failure diagnosis. The 68-year-old was put on hospice care in Vancouver earlier this year.
Anchors was exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. The first side effect showed up in the form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1985, he previously told FOX 12.
“I was stationed in Da Nang, helicopter crew, and we were exposed to it every day,” Anchors said. “We didn't know, of course, what the side effects would be.”
The Ridgefield School District says Anchors was instrumental in reviving Ridgefield High School’s softball program and led the team to state competition in 2016-17. Last year, the team placed fifth in the state with a 21-5 record. This year, the team is ranked second in their league with a 16-4 record.
When Anchors was diagnosed in 2018, doctors gave him months to live, but he outlived those expectations. He was able to walk his daughter down the aisle and continue coaching for some of the 2019 season.
Anchors in May shared in a Facebook post that his heart was in its final stages and thanked the community for everything.
“Just to let everybody know that, you know, hey, it's been a battle, I've touched all the bases, I've now touched third base and it's time to head home,” Anchors said.
The school district says Anchors remained dedicated to his team through his illness.
“His zest for life and infection enthusiasm for the game will live on in the hearts of the entire Ridgefield community,” a school district spokesperson said. “He will be sorely missed.”
The school district says counselors are on-hand at Ridgefield High School to help students and staff through the grieving process.
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