Family and friends celebrate Sam Foltz’ life

Posted by: Abigail Wood

Sam Foltz’ family and friends gathered in Grand Island Saturday to celebrate his legacy. This, a day after nearly 1,000 came to pay their respects at his visitation. They came from all over, but many were from his hometown in Greeley and Grand Island, where he played high school football.

"It’s devastating in a lot of ways," Grand Island Football Coach Jeff Tomlin said. "At the same time, today’s a day to celebrate Sam’s life and it’s a day to celebrate his legacy and what he’s meant to central Nebraska. I like to say he’s Greeley-bred and GI tough and Husker to the bone."

People gathered to cry, pray, and share stories. One childhood friend, Riley Facicky, said Sam saved his life once after a hunting accident. The two boys were 14 years old and Riley’s gun misfired, hitting him in the face. Sam jumped into action. 

"I’ve always said that Sam was the one who saved my life," Racicky said. "He was the one who called 911."

Even after starting school at UNL, Sam stayed in contact with his friends back home.

"Any chance he had to get back to Greeley he was always there," friend and neighbor Jesse Lammers said. "You might see him on Sundays even after game day, or during harvest especially he loved to come back to Greeley."

The friends I spoke to were all touched by the memorial ceremony. They want Sam’s legacy remembered, not just as a Husker but as the small-town hero he was to all of them.

Now some of Sam’s community in Greeley and Grand Island are raising money to help support the Foltz family. They’re selling wristbands and they’ve already raised about $30,000. If you want to help, here’s a link to their website.