Vidalia High opens field house

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 3, 2007

VIDALIA — After two years and a long battle over funding, Jerry Roberts’ dream of a new field house for Vidalia High School was realized this summer.

“This is a dream come true,” Roberts’ sister Pam Frank said. “He would be bouncing off the wall right now.”

Roberts died on his way to a business meeting in Waco, Texas in a plane crash on Dec. 10.

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In his honor the new field house will carry his name.

“We had to fight to get this built,” Vidalia High School Football coach Dee Faircloth said. “Jerry always said, ‘we are going to get this built if it’s the last thing we do.’”

Roberts’ love for athletics was transcended only by his love for his family.

“He was so active with the kids,” Frank said. “When he wasn’t doing things for Vidalia, he was in Natchez officiating games. There were kids from all over at this funeral.”

The field house was paid for primarily through fundraisers, donations and the school budget.

“The school pretty much built the building,” Faircloth said.

Sheriff Randy Maxwell built the shiny blue lockers from money raised through fundraisers such as flag football tournaments. The quarterback club built the shelves and the weight room was funded heavily by a $10,000 donation from Diana Glaze.

“(Glaze) called me up one day wanting to know what she could do to help,” Faircloth said. “I almost fell in the floor when she wanted to give that much money.”

Faircloth said the past facilities were unsafe.

“Our facility is now one of the best in the area,” Faircloth said.

Before Roberts’ death, he and Gary Parham worked tirelessly on making their big dream a reality.

“Roberts and Parham took this project on their shoulders,” Vidalia High School Principal Rick Brown said. “This is more than we expected.”

Their goal was to build something the current and future Vidalia football players could be proud of.

“I’m excited all this worked out the way it did,” Frank said. “Jerry would be so happy to see this.”