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GISS Field Named After Jim Boltin
GISS Field Named After Jim Boltin
Posted on 10/13/2015

Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School Renames Football Field in Honour of Late Volunteer Jim Boltin

(Gananoque) – He was the ultimate “behind the scenes” volunteer for the Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School (GISS) football program.

A former professional football player, the late Jim Boltin was there for everything from Christmas tree sales to support the GISS Trojans, to laying chalk lines on the gridiron.

On Friday afternoon, Boltin was officially recognized for his efforts when the high school’s athletic field was renamed the Jim Boltin Field at the 2015 Gananoque Secondary School Homecoming Game. A community fundraising committee also presented a cheque to the school for nearly $8,700 to support the football program. The money will cover equipment and transportation costs.

A memorial to Boltin and friend Rich Robinson, another late volunteer who helped with the program, was also unveiled as part of the festivities. The memorial was donated by the 1000 Islands Accommodation Partners and Leeder Monuments.

Local resident Trish Byrne, a member of the Jim Boltin Memorial Committee, said Boltin was a dedicated volunteer who went above and beyond for the football program, but shrunk away from publicity.

“He saw potential in everyone,” said Byrne. “He was involved for the kids and everybody looked up to him. He taught the kids about sportsmanship, and self-control, and was always there to offer encouragement. He was a big part of this program.”

The school hosted a brief ceremony on the field before the homecoming game in which Boltin’s daughter Jamie cut a ceremonial ribbon and the local fundraising committee presented the cheque.

During the ceremony, Boltin’s wife Francine thanked the fundraising committee for recognizing her husband.

“You deserve great honour for your investment in this community,” she said. “You are leaving a legacy for this generation and the generations to come.”

Byrne said Boltin, who helped resurrect the GISS football program along with Robinson and others in 2001, assisted the program in several ways:

  • A former professional player with the Montreal Alouettes, he coached in the Thousand Islands Football League as well as with the Gananoque program, and mentored coaches such as former Trojans Head Coach Jason Henderson, and current Defensive Coach Sean Clark.
  • He secured signed sports memorabilia through his contacts in the business world to be auctioned off at fundraisers such as the Jayna Hefford Memorial Golf Tournament.
  • He organized the annual Christmas tree sale run by the GISS football team, setting up shop at the main entrance. It became a tradition in Gananoque to purchase a tree at the school and support the program.
  • Boltin helped run the training sleds, and volunteered for the canteen at Trojans home games, cooking up onions, burgers and sausages.
  • A member of the local Rotary and Lions clubs, he volunteered with a variety of fundraisers from the local RibFest to PumpkinFest.

Robinson was a former Ontario Provincial Police officer. The late detective volunteered for both the Thousand Islands Football League and the GISS program. He barbecued hamburgers and sausages for the canteen at Trojans games, helped order football jerseys and assisted Boltin with Christmas tree sales.

Boltin died in 2012, while Robinson passed away in 2013.

The memorial to the two men has also started a new tradition at the school. Trojan players will now run up to the memorial in single file, and touch it before each game as a sign of respect for tradition and those who have laid the groundwork for them to take the field. The practice brought the Trojans some good luck in Friday’s game. They defeated North Grenville District High School by a score of 22-7.

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