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Salem Preservation seeking banner names

SALEM – Salem Preservation is looking for nine new inductees for the Reilly Banner program, aimed at honoring people who have been impacted by their participation at Historic Reilly Stadium and gone on to great accomplishments.

The program unveiled the first class of banners hung along East Pershing Street in front of the stadium in 2016 – those banners featuring the likes of local philanthropist Bob Sebo, rock ‘n roll DJ Alan Freed, former stadium namesake Gen. James W. Reilly and others will be retired or graduated.

Another class of banners will remain, to be joined by the new banners.

The banner committee is asking Salem High School graduates, attendees and anyone who may know somebody whose life has been changed while taking part in an activity at Reilly, now known as Sebo Stadium, to submit a nomination, from the heart or from the head.

“Please explain why you feel your nominee deserves recognition and how Reilly Stadium made a ‘difference’ in the nominee’s life or someone they knew. Nominations can be mailed to Salem Preservation Reilly Project, P.O. Box 1034, Salem, Ohio 44460,” a press release about the banner program said.

That’s also the address where donations can be sent to help defray the cost of the new group of banners, from anyone interested in continuing the historic legacy of the stadium. Salem Preservation is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, so all donations made to the group’s Reilly project are tax-deductible. Checks should be written to Salem Preservation, with banner donation marked on the memo line. All banner donors will receive a certificate of appreciation from the Salem Preservation Reilly Project.

The project is switching banner manufacturers, with the new company using a stronger two-ply banner which is more weather resistant and should last at least five years. The cost for each 30-inch by 72-inch banner will be $110, so the total cost will be nearly $2,000.

Salem Preservation President David Schwartz, in the press release, said city electrician Scott Devan takes excellent care of the banners, installing them in time for track season in the spring and removing them after the last football game. Salem Preservation raises funds through the sale of commemorative brick pavers which are placed at the stadium and has helped in the past with projects at the stadium to preserve the walls and install a new gate and ticket booth.

The banners being graduated have already been removed and donated to the Salem Historical Society so their place in history can be preserved.

As Schwartz said in the press release, “the purpose of the Salem Preservation Reilly Project banner program was to showcase those people whose lives have been touched, affected, changed or impacted by their involvement with Historic Reilly Stadium. The honored banner nominees’ participation at Reilly Field was not exclusive to football players. Historic Reilly Stadium has certainly had its fair share of Salem High School graduates advancing Salem, Ohio’s name through their experiences at Reilly. The late Lou Slaby, Kirk Lowdermilk and Rich Karlis immediately come to most locals’ memory.  Football was just the tip of the iceberg of local, national and international personalities whose lives have been touched by Reilly Field and Salem High School.”

Slaby, Lowdermilk and Karlis all played in the National Football League, but there were others, both football players and non-football players, who made their mark in other areas.

The first class included the following: attorney, politician and General James W. Reilly, whose estate paid for the purchase of the land for Reilly Stadium; John Auld, the brick mason who built the stadium; F.E. Cope, educator, coach, athlete, trainer along with his close friend Jesse Owens, who impacted the 1936 Berlin Olympics and thousands of lives thereafter; Alan J. Freed, locally known as “AJ,” forever impacted the music world when he coined the phrase “Rock ‘n Roll” on radio, movies and television; Barbara Butler Green, who touched the lives of many thousands of SHS graduates when she used her musical and literary talents to bring “Honor” to Salem High School by penning the Salem High School alma mater;  Bob Sebo, whose business acumen and entrepreneurship has contributed greatly to the well-being of Salem residents and the newly renamed and refurbished Bob Sebo Stadium; Rich Karlis, who has become a fixture in the Denver, Colorado community through his continued support of Denver charities and philanthropic organizations; and Salem’s West Point graduate Lauren Teal, the youngest member of the banner graduating class of 2019, who continues to contribute to the security of the United States of America at home and abroad.

“Salem Preservation’s Reilly Project honors the members of the banner graduating Class of 2019.  Their banners have been removed from their posts where they could gaze at all the activities at our proud downtown stadium which has been welcoming players and personalities from all over the world since 1928 when John Auld laid the last brick at Reilly Stadium,” the press release said.

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