Personalized jerseys could become player mementos

Thursday, September 2, 2010
Last year, Denny Bridges established the John and Bob Bridges Fund to honor his father and uncle, John and Bob Bridges, who played football for Greencastle High School in the 1950s. The fund is intended to purchase jerseys for GHS football players with their names on the back. Members of the 1955 team pictured above are, front from left, end Chuck Beiber, tackle Dave Fritzsinger, guard Tom Daugherty, center Don Austin, guard Fred Unsworth, tackle John Bridges, end Jim Hughes; middle, quarterback Jim Braden; back, halfback Chuck Saathoff, fullback Bob Bridges and halfback Charlie Pingleton. Anyone with corrections to this list may contact Jared Jernagan at 653-5151 ext. 21 or Contributed photo

GREENCASTLE -- When Charles "Denny" Bridges wanted a way to memorialize his father and uncle, he had to look no farther than the Greencastle football team.

Denny's father John and uncle Bob Bridges played football together for Greencastle High School in the 1950s. Last year, he established the John and Bob Bridges Fund through the Putnam County Community Foundation. The new endowment will provide financial support for the high school in buying football jerseys for the players with their names on the back.

"I'm doing this to memorialize my dad and my uncle, who are both deceased. They both just loved football, and they were wonderful men," Bridges said. "They were pretty good football players in their day."

Besides memorializing his dad and uncle, though, Bridges also wanted to do something nice for the GHS athletes. Putting the names on the jerseys will give the players an opportunity many kids at small high schools do not get.

"The reason I want to put the names on the jerseys is because frequently the bigger schools do that, and when kids are in high school, that's a big thing," Bridges said. "What I am going to do is allow the graduating seniors to buy them at a much reduced cost. Then that money would go back in the endowment."

With the personalized jersey, the players would then have a memento of their playing days.

Greencastle athletic director Scott Knapp expressed his appreciation for what Bridges is doing and looks forward to when the plan comes to fruition. He said this sort of community support is what he has seen since coming to Greencastle.

"One thing I will say about Greencastle is that they are some of the most supportive fans, parents, people that I've ever been around. I'm not just saying that. I've been at two other schools and seen other schools, and like I told Coach Davis when we interviewed him, we could be 1-9 or 9-1, and we'll still fill the stands. We have good parents that are supportive of our youth and of their kids," Knapp said.

"It's always nice to have support, whether it be for something like this or just parents making sandwiches for after the game. It's equally appreciated," he added.

Elaine Peck, executive director of the community foundation, said she is encouraging people to support public schools in new and creative ways.

"The downturn in the economy has caused schools to lose operating revenue," Peck said. "If we want our schools to continue providing the same services to our children that we have grown to expect, we will have to find new ways to support them."

Contributions to the Fund should be made payable to the Putnam County Community Foundation with "Bridges Football Fund" in the memo, and mailed to 2 South Jackson St., Greencastle, IN 46135. Anyone may contribute to the fund to help the GHS football team reach new levels of achievement.

The community foundation staff is available to help donors make gifts of cash, stock, retirement assets, life insurance, bequests, real estate and other types of gifts to the fund.

The Putnam County Community Foundation administers more than 200 funds and endowments for donors, supporting a variety of charitable purposes. To learn more about this fund, how to make a contribution, or how to start a new fund, visit or contact Peck at 653-4978.

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  • I understand the reasoning behind wanting to do this, but at the same time the reason we havent had names on our jerseys was because we are a team not individuals. Why not wait til the season is over and then give the seniors the choice of having their names put on if they want.And yes I did play for Greencastle and this is one of the traditions that has been around for a long time and should continue.

    -- Posted by jester7373 on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 5:25 AM
  • Why not take the numbers off! That would keep the Refs guessing on who to call the foul on.

    -- Posted by macvrod on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 6:20 AM
  • There is a couple different ways to look at it. I for one wish I still had my original football jersey with my name on it. It would be something to show my kids who are playing ball right now. how cool would that of been?

    -- Posted by nascar_Couple on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 7:01 AM
  • It's nice to see all the community support Greencastle's sports teams get!!!!! To bad it doesn't happen like that in the southern part of the county

    -- Posted by THE BUGS on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 7:31 AM
  • i woulda loved to had my name on my jersey.

    -- Posted by badboy46120 on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 7:41 AM
  • Grest idea!!!! For those against it, why don't you find something important to complain about!

    -- Posted by Insane Due to Society on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 9:53 AM
  • Here's something important. If we can find money for anything related to sports maybe we should spend it on educating our children first. You know, the reason they are in school in the first place.

    -- Posted by So... on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 10:37 AM
  • It's a nice gesture, however it will guarantee that Greencastle must buy new Jerseys every year. (if they don't already do that) What happens to the jerseys if the players don't want to buy them when school ends?

    -- Posted by exhoosier2 on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 10:43 AM
  • To Denny Bridges thank you for your generosity in doing this for the Greencastle football team. To those opposed because a name on the jersey turns the team into individuals I hope you never look at the program to check and see who number so & so is that just scored a touch down or who it was that just made that great tackle. After all according to you it really doesn't matter it was a team effort.Maybe the school should do away with programs(if names really don't matter) look how much they would save on paper.To "So" maybe you could get creative and find some way to benefit the non-athletic educational programs at school instead of complaining and wanting someone else to do it. Being part of a team sport teaches a child life skills that just aren't possible to be learned in a classroom.Not all children are the same . Sadly many come from homes that don't place a value on learning and many times if that child gets involved in a school sport this child has a new purpose to go to school and to keep the grades up.What it wrong with the world that when someone makes a generous offer there are those who can only find fault.Be positive people and look for the good.Thank You Mr. Bridges.

    -- Posted by Just_Me on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 11:11 AM
  • This is not a 1956 picture it is more likely a 1955.

    -- Posted by daden123 on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 2:51 PM
  • I think this is a good idea. that way kid's could take there jerseys with them for old time sake. Get over it Greencastle it's like theres nothing to do for the kid's anyway it's preaty bad when Brazil has a YMCA and Greencastle is more worried about a light or now stop sign that was a good idea.

    -- Posted by B. Page on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 3:54 PM
  • Cloverdale Football has their names on their jerseys this year and I think it is great. It is so much easier to follow the game and the players. We paid $20 and our son will use the jersey again. Thanks, Coach Winkler.

    By the way, we are in the southern part of the county and we support our teams, our scholars, our artists, our musicians, etc. I believe South Putnam does, too as I have been to many cross country meets, county basketball tourneys, summer baseball games at their well kept facilities and the kids and fans are wonderful and the school personnel is very dedicated.

    This is a well written article and a good news story which is sorely needed. Great contribution to society, Mr. Bridges.

    BTW, how dare anyone complain about how someone chooses to honor his family. Put your money where your mouth is and set up your OWN endowment to honor whoever you want and for whatever you want.

    -- Posted by South of 40 on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 7:48 PM
  • I never said it was a bad idea, I was just saying that it has been a tradition to not put players names on their jerseys. My son is on the team and I dont care whether his name is on his jersey or not. With the problems the program has had in the last few years I am more concerned with getting the team back to winning. Go to the games, pay attention and you will learn who the players are. Its just that simple.

    -- Posted by jester7373 on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 9:01 PM
  • even if u dont like football come on out for something else. the cheerleaders are throwing shirts into the stands, Tigers Den "A Cut Above" is giving away products and free services to people that answer the trivia questions correctly. they are planning an old/hot rod car show at one of the half times. Big Country's BBQ is serving up some great food. there are fireworks being let off after each Tiger Cub score. there is a lot more going on than i can remember to mention. the place is happening, people! lets get out for a couples hours on a friday night to celebrate and cheer and have some fun. support your local community, enjoy the few things that it does have to offer.

    thanks Denny for making a difference

    -- Posted by badboy46120 on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 11:09 PM
  • There are kids who aren't good at school and kids who aren't good at sports and kids who are purple and green and blue. There are certainly different ways children learn and some kids aren't good with "normal" school work. That's why we have options for our children (ex. Area 30). So when I say the money could be used for the education of our children let me re-state: All children need an education that fits their particular learning style and future potential. There is something for everyone and until that is done everything else should wait.

    PS I do serve on committees in our community and have volunteered countless hours in our school systems. Thanks.

    -- Posted by So... on Thu, Sep 2, 2010, at 11:25 PM
  • So...Are You back tracking ? Thank You for agreeing with me that children do learn in different ways. Please don't attack athletics that does help many children in this community.How sad it is when someone makes a generous donation and tries to do something kind there are the dark clouds that rain on everyones parade.

    -- Posted by Just_Me on Fri, Sep 3, 2010, at 1:57 PM
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