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Nashua Hall of Fame induction postponed to October 25

By Tom King - Staff Writer | Apr 8, 2020

NASHUA – The call to the Hall has been made and answered, but its doors now won’t open until late October.

Nashua Athletic Director and chairman of the Nashua Athletics Hall of Fame Committee Lisa Gingras announced Wednesday that the induction ceremony for the revived Hall, originally set for Saturday, May 9, will now be held on Sunday, Oct. 25 due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The rescheduled event will be held at the same time, noon to 4 p.m. and at the same location, the Nasua Courtyard Marriott. The committee held a zoom meeting late in the day Monday and voted unanimously for the change. There are 11 nominees slated to be inducted, and Gingras took time Tuesday to notify them, school officials, current Hall of Fame members (who are invited to the ceremony), etc.

This was clearly an emotional decision for Gingras, who spearheaded the effort to revive the Hall after a near 20-year absence and put together the committee, etc. that first began meeting in November of 2018.

She said she first got the feeling things were going to have to change on March 26, when New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu extended the closing of school until May 4.

“Even if we were to go back May 4, could we still hold an event for hundreds of people, even if were back in school for just a few days with everything that needed to get done, etc.,” she said. “We have people coming from all areas of the country, including people from hard hit areas. And I wanted to be sure to give people as much notification as possible.”

This was an emotional decision for Gingras, to be sure, but one that had to be made in her mind.

“While it’s frustrating, I had to put it in perspective,” she said, noting that safety was first and foremost. “It is frustrating that we have these amazing, deserving individuals and we can’t recognize when we said we would. … People know that I’m a planner, and when I say I’m going to plan something, I do it.”

But, as Gingras added in a statement Tuesday, due to the COVID-19 crisis “there was no other decision to be made.”

The flip side is the fact that all of the businesses that are part of the event were very helpful, Gingras said, in the rescheduling. There were dates that were available earlier in October but the committee’s preference was to move the event to as far into 2020 as possible.

Some September dates were listed but either the venue wasn’t available or there were scheduling conflicts.

Those who purchased tickets, that purchase will still be honored for the new date. As the official statement released Tuesday said, “All sponsorships, program ads and purchased tickets will be transferred to the new October date.”

To review, here are those who are scheduled to be inducted in October:

Farley Gates – The 1981 Nashua grad earned several accolates in helping to guide the 1980 Panthers to the Class L boys basketball title and went on to a collegiate career/scholarship at the University of San Francisco. Gates has also in the past served as the Chick-fil-A hoop tourney director.

Al Savage – One of the most recognizeable names in local youth sports with the Nashua Elks, Savage helped found the New Hampshire state Decathlon in 1957 and the girls Heptathlon in 1977.

Bob DeMello – DeMello, who passed away in May of 2002, won 10 state championships coaching Nashua track from 1983-1997, and was an assistant coach for Nashua from 1975-1985 and Bishop Guertin from 1999-2001.

Mark Russell – The 1966 Nashua grad excelled in football, baseball, winter track and basketball, and after graduating from NHS played football and ran track at Bordentown Military Academy and then football at the University of Massachusetts.

Kole Ayi – Ayi was one of the more dominant football players in the state, graduating from Nashua in 1997 and went on to a Hall of Fame career as a linebacker at Umass-Amherst and then played in the NFL with mainly the St.Louis Rams and the New England Patriots, earning a Super Bowl ring with the Pats in 2002.

Amy Ruston – The 1999 Nashua grad holds several school and state records in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and went on to compete at Lehman University.

Laura Gerraughty – One of the most recognizable names in Nashua track as a shot put thrower who was a nine-time state champion and two-time national champion in high school and at the University of North Carolina. Not surprisingly, she went on to compete in the 2004 Olympics.

John Schroeder – The 2006 Nashua North graduate was a standout athlete in cross country, indoor and outdoor track, as well as a Class L and state champion.

Kendall Reyes – The second former NFL player in this group. Reyes, the 2007 Nashua North grad, went on to a standout career as a defensive lineman at the University of Connecticut and then as a second round draft choice played with the Chargers, Redskins and Chiefs in the NFL. He is currently an assistant coach at the University of New Hampshire.

Brad Zapenas – Zapenas was a standout baseball player at Nashua North (2008 grad), Boston College and went on to a professional minor league career in the Chicago Cubs organization. He was the 2008 New Hampshire Gatorade Player of the Year.

Trevor Knight – Knight was a standout quarterback at Nashua South and the Univerity of New Hampshire, and most recently was a member of the Canadian Football League champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers. While at South he was the 2012-13 Gatorade Player of the Year.

Ticket information is available at the Hall of Fame page at www.NashuaNorthAthletics.com and www.NashuaSouthAthletics.com.

NOTE: Telegraph sports reporter Tom King is a member of the Hall of Fame organizing committee.

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