AFA's Hall of Fame Induction Weekend a Success

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Sarasota, Florida was the site for the American Football Association's 27th Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Friday December 12th at the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel on Lido Beach. Eighteen individuals representing semi-pro football teams across the country were enshrined as 'legends' of their level.

The events were well organized, well scheduled, went smoothly; we had fun. This is a class organization that we are proud to be a part of…….

Sarasota, Florida was the site for the American Football Association's 27th Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Friday December 12th at the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel on Lido Beach. Eighteen individuals representing semi-pro football teams across the country were enshrined as 'legends' of their level.

This year's semi-pro football enshrinement festivities began on Thursday evening with the annual AFA/HOF Alumni Huddle cocktail party. The "Huddle" provided attending HOF Alumni an opportunity to meet the new group of semi-pro football legends before they are inducted. Over the past 28 years the AFA has inducted 571 devoted and deserving former players (313), coaches (94), executives (74), officials (23), pioneers (20), media/historians (20), trainers/equipment managers (11), youth football representatives (6), international footballers (5), women's football category (4), and even one super fan.

On Friday evening the Class of 2008 was honored by AFA Alumni, family and friends when they joined the elite group of semi-pro football over achievers as they received their commemorative Semi-Pro Hall of Fame recognition plaques. Craig Ochoa (Class of '03) served as MC while former teammates and/or family members presented the new inductees to the dinner crowd. A slideshow accompanied each inductee's introduction which was followed by very sincere and touching testimony from each inductee. Interspersed during the program were auctions, raffles and even a live harmonica performance from a guest musician.

Saturday morning, AFA President, Dave Burch presented organizational plans at the business meeting breakfast at the Helmsley Sandcastle. Highlights from the Board of Directors Meeting were presented along with comments from board members and discussions about how to promote additional membership in local alumni organizations.

Saturday at noon, (under perfect, beautiful weather) a special memorial service was held on the beach for AFA Founder Ron Real who passed away June 10, 2008. Moving testimonials were provided by Alumni, Family and friends. This was a very beautiful and moving tribute to a man who made a difference in so many lives.

The 4th annual "Old Timers Game" was officiated by Hall of Famer, Craig Ochoa on the beach Saturday afternoon. This touch-tackle game pitted the HOF Alumni legends against the newly inducted Class of 2008. A great time was held by all with this year's Class of 2008 walking away with the victory.

This year's events were well received by all who attended based on some brief comments below………..
"Since I was inducted into the AFA in Canton, Ohio, I think this was one of the best. With all due respect to Ron Real, you have pushed the AFA to a new and more professional level with your expertise and guidance which will make the AFA better than ever in the future. That is the feeling I got at the board of directors meeting and then at the banquet."

"The weekend was wonderful, thank you for all your hard work to ensure the AFA lives on."
"The events were well organized, well scheduled, went smoothly; we had fun. This is a class organization that we are proud to be a part of……."

Our sincere thanks to Helmsley Sandcastle's Staff, the Real Family, AFA Hall of Fame Committee and Board of Directors for their hard work in making this another successful event.

The American Football Association is proud to present the names of those who will be enshrined into the AFA Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame as the "Class of 2008". The names in parentheses indicate sponsors of the new inductees HOF alumni.

PLAYERS CATEGORY:
Richard Landis - Upper Strasburg, Pennsylvania. - (Stephen Oldt, Dave Bonsell )
Jerry Schropp - Elk Grove Village, Illinois - (Fritz Fiorelli, Alvin Klaeren, Roman Strzala)
Pat Albanese - Glenview, Illinois - (Neal Anderson, Mike "Chico" Cain, William Meyer, Gary Thomas)
Larry Schmidt- Northbrook, Illinois - (Patrick O'Brien, Joseph Wolfe)
Donald Busch, Sr - Westchester, Illinois - (Elmhurst Travelers Alumni Club)
Elwyn Rider - Jackson, Michigan - (Bill Christie)
Steven Fisher - Watertown, New York - (George Ashcraft)
Dick Rosati - Port Charlotte, Florida - (Dick Leland)
Tom Kirlis - Bridgewater, Massachusetts - (Peter O'Kane)
David Brown - Quincy, Massachusetts - (Larry DeVoe)
Erle Garrett - Boston, Massachusetts - (Bob DeVoe)
Thomas Manny - Troy, New York - (Gary Shaver)
COACHES CATEGORY:
Merle F. Derpinghaus - Manitowoc, WI - (Jordon Kopac)
EXECUTIVE CATEGORY:
Pete Narri - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - (Chris Chudada)
Arney Silvestri - Geneva, Illinois - (Cheryl Kardas)
OFFICIALS CATEGORY:
Jerry McGonigle - Lake Winola, Pennsylvania - (William Higgins)
TRAINERS CATEGORY:
Glen Cooper - Prince George, Virginia - (Hal & Mary Lockhart)
PIONEER CATEGORY:
Joseph Loughran - Staten Island, New York - (Brett Friedman)

Related press releases:
American Football Association Selects Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame . . . 'Class Of 2008'

American Football Association's 27th Annual Induction Dinner Site Sarasota, Florida

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longislandlife/ny-lfcov1221,0,7439182.story

http://www.publicopiniononline.com/ci_11317972

To view the 2008 Hall of Fame Weekend photo album, click below.......
Hall of Fame Weekend Photo Album

Happy Holidays From The American Football Association
Holiday Greetings Card

About the American Football Association:
The American Football Association is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax exempt corporation in its 28th year of operation and is dedicated to the advancement of adult (semi-pro) football from coast-to-coast. Our slogan is Semi Pro & Proud®. We are not affiliated with any other national semi-pro/minor league organization. The AFA, Hall of Fame, American Football News™ and AFA logo design are registered trademarks of the American Football Association. All other AFA-related trademarks are trademarks of the American Football Association.

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