Niagara Gazette — Gina Terbot and the Niagara-Wheatfield Soccer Boosters believe they have the perfect way to remember a man they knew as devoted to the sport and the school community.
The group is looking to build shelters for each of the school's two fields – four total – to protect the bench areas from the elements. They're looking to dedicate these structures to the memory of Steven Johnson, a father of three Niagara-Wheatfield soccer players who was killed in the February 2009 crash of Continental Airlines Flight No. 3407.
"I requested a meeting with Interim Superintendent James Knowles and Director of Facilities and Operations Delbert Ambrosia about the long-range plans for our complex," Terbot said. "It was determined the girl's soccer booster club's project was in line with the long-range field usage and fully supported by both parties."
Terbot, representing the group, approached the Niagara-Wheatfield School Board in January to start creating the shelters. The board quickly granted its full support, allowing the boosters to begin consulting with students at the high school to design the structures.
One student, enrolled in the school's computer-aided design program, will be selected to design the shelters, which are expected to cost between $20,000 and $40,000 to build. But the boosters know the final dollar amount won't fall on the shoulders of the district to finance. They're taking the project to the people, seeking donations and holding fundraisers to build financial support rather than relying on taxpayer money.
And they're starting by going to the ones who will be most affected by the shelters.
"If every soccer player in the area made a contribution of their choice as a way of saying 'I'm really lucky my parent is still here' and every parent made a contribution of their choice as a way of saying 'thanks, Steve, I'm a soccer parent, too,' we would be off to a great start," Terbot said.