AUGUST 22, 2021
Memorial Stadium: A Rededication of Our Grand Legacy
It has been 74 years since Grand Island’s Memorial Stadium was first dedicated to honor and remember the brave young soldiers who fought and died in World War II. Hall County lost 126 brave souls to that war. Many of them had recently been students at Grand Island High School before being called up to serve their country. The community came together to raise funds to build a stadium in their memory which was dedicated before a crowd of 4,000 people on September 16, 1947.
On Sunday, August 22, 2021 the public was invited to a rededication ceremony to celebrate the restoration, renovation and new construction of Grand Island’s Memorial Stadium. The stadium was open from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. for self-guided tours. There was a Rededication Ceremony on Jack Martin Field at 7:00 p.m. The ceremony included the 1st Infantry Division Band of the US Army, Fort Riley, the GISH Islander Marching Band, a presentation of colors, a Key to the City presentation, a Dedication from Chaplain Maj. Gen. William Dendinger and a 21 Gun Salute by the United Veterans Club Honor Guard.
In 2017, Grand Island High School Alum Lanny Martin provided an $11.3 million gift in memory of his father Jack Martin, to restore and build a Memorial Stadium with modern facilities and amenities. The project would take community and school district support to make it happen, just as it did in 1945. The renovation and new construction brought the project to a $17 million goal.
After four years of fundraising, over 600 donors, two years of construction, and a pandemic, the beautifully restored and modern Memorial Stadium is ready to offer Grand Island fans and teams the Home Field Advantage.
In addition to Mr. Martin’s gift, Grand Island Public Schools made an investment in the property with previously allotted upkeep and maintenance dollars. There were 655 community donors who pulled together to raise the additional funds needed to make this project a reality.
The Our Grand Legacy Memorial Stadium fundraising campaign was co-chaired by Jim & Maureen Kahrhoff and Jeff & Jane Richardson. Tom & Holly Rathman were honorary co-chairs of the campaign. This project was a fundraising project of the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation, under the direction of Traci Skalberg, Executive Director and Leigh Lillibridge, Campaign Coordinator.
“These kinds of opportunities come along once in a lifetime. We were so blessed at the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation to be the catalyst to turn this dream into a reality. It was important to us to continue to honor the sacrifice of our fallen while bringing the home field advantage to our teams and community. We believe that we accomplished this goal with the meticulous renovation of East Stadium complete with a new veterans memorial wall and the construction of West Stadium. We are grateful to the Martin family, grateful for the service of our active duty military and veterans, and grateful to our community.” –Traci Skalberg
Live Video of Rededication Ceremony
Opening: GISH Band @ 8:00 | Present Colors @ 17:00
Our Grand Legacy: Ceremony @ 23:20
Rededication: Ceremony @ 43:15
Memorial Stadium Rededication | Program
The Pride of Grand Island
Thank you to all who have donated to the Our Grand Legacy campaign.