Family, friends, community dedicate Sam Foltz Memorial Highway
GREELEY, NE — The road that once took Sam Foltz home, now bears his name.
Friends, family and the Greeley community dedicated a 13-mile stretch of Highway 56 in honor of the fallen Husker football player on Friday. The renaming was the brainchild of Mary Ann McQuillan, who wanted to do right by the ultimate Nebraska boy.
“The fact that he lost his life on an unfamiliar road in Wisconsin… this was, like Marty said, it was just sort of a way of bringing him home with a positive memory rather than the one that we lived with for so many years,” McQuillan said.
Teammates Brandon Reilly and Sam Hahn and coaches Barney Cotton and Jeff Jamrog shared memories as part of a tribute ceremony. They hope the highway name keeps those memories alive.
“A legacy is a lot about what you do for others and how you impact others with the gifts you’ve been given and Sam was so good at that. It’s nice that his name will live on,” Hahn said.
Sam Foltz’s name gained prominence through his journey from small-town walk-on to Big Ten Punter of the Year. But his on-field exploits aren’t his greatest legacy, according to his parents, Gerald and Jill, and those who knew him best.
“Sam was just an ordinary kid, he just really was. He doesn’t have royal DNA or anything like that, but he just worked really hard and he just really wanted this," Jill Foltz said. "I just want to inspire those kids to think, I can do this. It will take hard work, but I can do this.”
“The thing that made Sam special was the fact that he didn’t think he was special. You run into those people every once in awhile but not very often in a lifetime,” Gerald Foltz said.
Now, thanks to McQuillan, those attributes will become conversation points when families drive Sam Foltz Memorial Highway.
“I’m really hoping that as parents are driving along this highway someday, if the kids say ‘hey, who was Sam Foltz?’ Their dad will say, ‘he was a great young man and by God’s grace you’ll grow up to be just as good as he was,'” McQuillan said.