The original Great Bend High School Memorial Stadium was razed last summer, but not before an important part of its history was preserved.
Now it’s time to return that portion of history to its owners or to their descendents.
Unified School District 428 personnel saved 881 brass nameplates that lined the stair risers of the bleachers. The nameplates were originally sold as part of a fund-raising effort to construct the seating that was built in 1949.
Most of the plaques carry the names of donors and businesses, but 134 of them also carry stars. The stars are in memory of fallen World War II soldiers for whom Memorial Stadium was originally named.
After several discussions, the board of education decided to return the nameplates to family members. A special 4x8 foot commemorative board in the breezeway of the Panther Athletic Center will list all of donors and acknowledge the memory of World War II veterans.
The planned memorial will read:
"Contributors help build first Memorial Stadium
"‘All gave some, some gave all.’
"The names listed here represent those individuals and businesses involved in a fund-raising effort to construct the original Memorial Stadium in 1949. Brass plaques noting their names were affixed to the stadium stair risers. One-hundred thirty-four names were also designated with a star. Those stars were in memory of World War II soldiers for whom Memorial Stadium was named.
"We continue to honor their legacy of freedom."
The entire list of names will follow.
"The nameplates will be given back on a first-come, first-served basis," said Dan Brungardt. "If more than one family member wants the one with Grandpa’s name, they’ll have to work it out."
The complete list of names can be found at the school district’s website, www.usd428.net.
If you would like to have one or more of the plaques with your or your family members’ names, please call Jennifer Schartz, public information director, 793-1500, so it can be located. You may then pick it/them up at 201 S. Patton Road between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. each week day until the end of the school year on May 27.