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Monday, July 7, 2014

Gate City induction: Lajoie, Belanger officially members of Holman Stadium Sports Legends Hall of Fame

NASHUA – Holman Stadium was a second home to Fred Lajoie and Richard “Dick” Belanger. The duo dedicated much of their lives to helping the stadium and Nashua youth sports. Saturday night, the Nashua Lions Club assured that their commitment would always be remembered.

The two Gate City legends were inducted into the Nashua Lions Club Holman Stadium Sports Legends Hall of Fame prior to the city’s firework celebration. Mayor Donnalee Lozeau led the event, along with Lions President Louise Deschenes and committee members Greg Andruskevich, Mike Francoeur, Phil Flynn, Lou Marino and Tom Lavoie. ...

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NASHUA – Holman Stadium was a second home to Fred Lajoie and Richard “Dick” Belanger. The duo dedicated much of their lives to helping the stadium and Nashua youth sports. Saturday night, the Nashua Lions Club assured that their commitment would always be remembered.

The two Gate City legends were inducted into the Nashua Lions Club Holman Stadium Sports Legends Hall of Fame prior to the city’s firework celebration. Mayor Donnalee Lozeau led the event, along with Lions President Louise Deschenes and committee members Greg Andruskevich, Mike Francoeur, Phil Flynn, Lou Marino and Tom Lavoie.

The Lions Club first honored the late “Red” Belanger, who spent much of his life working in the Nashua school district. Belanger started as a science teacher, eventually rising to principal and assistant superintendent of schools. In addition to coaching basketball, he served as the faculty manager for the Nashua athletic programs, playing an important role in the Buzz Harvey-Tony Marandos dynasty. The gym at Nashua High School South is named in his honor.

His children, Sue, Dave and Patty Belanger, accepted the award on behalf of their father. Dave emphasized that his father’s impact went beyond the athletics community, as the veteran teacher influenced “the youth of Nashua in general.”

Greg Andruskevich, last year’s inductee, fondly remembered when Nashua football was played at the stadium. Even in the worst conditions, Belanger would keep his players looking clean.

“If it was a little bit muddy, Buzz Harvey’s team would go into the locker room and come out with brand new uniforms,” Andruskevich said.

Lajoie, the former State Commissioner for the Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken League, dedicated years of his life to the Nashua youth baseball scene. In 1988, he served as the President for the Bambino League World Series when it was played in Holman Stadium. It was during this event that Lajoie realized that renovations were sorely needed.

“The stadium back then was in really bad shape,” Lajoie said. “People came from all over the country and they were sitting on concrete. There were no benches to sit on, no press boxes. I was embarrassed.”

After that, Holman Stadium started seeing some changes, eventually evolving into today’s ballpark.

Lajoie was humbled by the entire experience, reflecting on the previous inductees.

“It’s a real honor,” he said. “Some of these people that were inducted ahead of me, I looked up to them in my youth. Buzz Harvey, Tony Marandos ... these were people that were icons in the sports world here in Nashua back in the ’50s and ’60s. To be enshrined alongside them, its an unbelievable experience.”