Ryan Rehkow is a servant first, athlete second.
He could be the poster child of what is best about Latter-day Saints student-athletes and more.
Rehkow will land at Brigham Young University to play football but not before serving a two-year church mission in London.
When his work in England is concluded, Rehkow will head to Provo, Utah, to continue his athletic endeavor.
Rehkow didn’t see himself seeking to be a missionary when he entered Central Valley High School.
“As a grew, I just knew that’s what I was supposed to do,” he said. “I’ve grown up in the church. It’s a huge part of who I am.”
In London, Rehkow will put his 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame on a bike and pound the pavement.
It’s a $10,000 investment to be a missionary, Rehkow said. The missionary is responsible for buying his own bike, clothing and paying his transportation to the mission location.
He’ll leave on Aug. 22.
Rehkow, who graduated with a 3.95 grade-point average and never had anything lower than an A-, feels blessed to be going to London.
“My fear was I’d end up somewhere in Africa and have to learn a language,” he said. “I just wanted to speak English. London is as English as you can get. If I don’t come back with some sort of accent, I’ll be disappointed.”
Rehkow played in two all-star basketball games in March. He’ll add another all-star game this week when he plays in the 53rd annual East/West all-star football game on Friday in Moses Lake.
He believes he’s the only athlete in Washington to play in all-star games for basketball and football.
Rehkow left his mark in the Greater Spokane League record book in football. He ranks second all time in career punt average (47.86), second in career field goals (20) and third in career made point-after kicks (93).
His older brother, Austin, finished a stellar career as a place-kicker/punter at Idaho. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills. He has a good chance making the Bills’ 53-man roster.
Someday, Ryan Rehkow hopes there are two Rehkows kicking in the NFL.
As a two-year starter in basketball, Rehkow finished ranked 19th all time in scoring with 713 points – seven behind his coach, Rick Sloan, who is ranked 18th.
“What a joy to coach,” Sloan said of Rehkow. “He was fun to coach because he’d check his ego at the door and was a team-first guy. We’re going to miss him. He was a special kid.”
Rehkow earned first-team all-GSL honors last winter, averaging 17.6 points to go with 7.8 rebounds per game.
“He was a fierce competitor. Pretty fearless,” Sloan said. “He didn’t put pressure on himself. He just went out and focused on what he had control over – playing hard and playing smart.”
Speaking of having fun, Rehkow has a summer job working at Mica Moon Zip Tours in Liberty Lake – a zip line business at Mica Peak.
Rehkow will catch his brother’s first preseason NFL game in early August before he packs up a couple of new suits, slacks and dress shirts for London.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” Rehkow said of his mission. “I get to go foreign and I get to speak English.”
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