Remembering the Legacy of Ed Giegucz: Coach, Father, and Special Education Advocate
10/19/2012 (Updated 11:49:42 PM)(Source: Kate Thornton)
Ed Giegucz was referred to by many names during his lifetime such as Dad, Coach, and Mr. Giegucz to his students in the Vestal Central School District.
He his best known for supporting students on the baseball field and in the classroom.
Giegucz passed away suddenly on February 27th, 2008.
In 1964, Giegucz was the district's very first Special Education teacher ever hired. To this day, he is Vestal's longest running Committee on Special Education and Preschool Special Education Program chairman.
Friends and family said Giegucz was truly responsible building the foundation of the Special Education program. And, as a coach, he had a unique way on integrating his students to be apart of his teams.
"He's a friendly ally with words and actions and a strong advocate for students with special needs and their families," said former student Steven Bale. "Having people willing to work with you is a relief, and that's what Ed was to me. He was an advocate for me and my family, and when we needed creative problem solving."
"We joked around as a kid and say that he was 'Special Ed'," said former Vestal baseball player Dave Simek. "We never called him that to his face, but he was special, and now I know why in terms of how he brought that program, really built it up from ground zero to what it is today."
Almost five years after his death, a memorial plaque was dedicated Friday in honor of Giegucz and all he has done for the community.
"This just means everything to me because I feel like we've advocated for him now and it's his time," said Giegucz's daughter Bethany Giegucz Golebiewski.
Golebiewski said people from near and far have donated their time and money to support his memorial. Over $11,000 in donations have been made.
Other than the location spot, no money has been donated by the Vestal Central School District.
The memorial sits where he touched the lives of so many, below the varsity baseball field at the Vestal High School.
Those who gathered around saw much more than an ame and face etched in braxx, they saw a community treasure that will continue to be cherished.
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