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Jim Durflinger Field - September 6, 2013

Friday night could have been called Jim Durflinger Night as Meridian’s football team found the perfect way to dedicate the newly named “Jim Durflinger Field” with a 14-6 season opener victory over the Lawrence-Nelson Raiders.  Durflinger who retired this past June after 43 years as head maintenance – custodial engineer, football field caretaker, and life-long supporter for the Meridian School District was honored before the game.  Jim started working for the Meridian School the May of 1970 replacing Ed Pletcher at the Meridian-Alexandria Grades 4-6 site.  He became head custodial engineer and caretaker of the newly built school, football field, and grounds west of Daykin in 1977 where he has held this position until this past June upon his retirement.

A ceremonial unveiling of an archway over the field’s north entrance declared it as the “Jim Durflinger Field. “   Head Coach Jones was quoted as saying, “Jim Durflinger has been a tremendous asset to the Meridian athletic department and athletes for the past 43 years.  Jim loved and took pride in the upkeep of this football field.”  Jim’s love of taking pride in the football field didn’t just start at this field.  After Meridian was consolidated in 1967-68, football games were held at the Alexandria football field until the fall of 1977 when the present school and football field were built.  His loving touch and dedication to the workmanship of this field “hit home” when they honored Jim at the 2013 Meridian Alumni Banquet in June.  Paul Bachle, MC of the banquet, told the story of stopping for gas while in Kansas wearing a Meridian T-shirt.    A gentleman came up to him and said, “Meridian. I know that place.”  Paul said, ‘”I think you are mistaken.  This is a school in Nebraska.”  The gentleman went on to say, “I have coached football for over 30 years.  We played at Meridian once and in all my years of coaching that was the best field that my teams have ever played on.  Whoever takes care of that field does an excellent job.”

It was then that Allen Henry, Meridian graduate from the class of 1973 who attended the banquet, came up with the idea to honor Jim by renaming Meridian’s football field as “Jim Durflinger Field” similar to the way UNL honored Tom Osborne.  After obtaining permission from the Meridian Board of Education, the first rough ideas were taken to Andy Klipp of Klipp Welding who along with Jason Bartels developed the design for the sign.  Their crew with help from Daykin Lumber Co. crew and equipment erected the sign in time for Meridian’s first home game and ceremonial dedication and unveiling.

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