Husker band uniforms part of Lincoln couple’s 50 year saga
Demetrios and Stamatia Deligiannis started with big dreams and they're still living them today.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Football just isn’t quite football if you don’t get the whole experience. Part of the experience is the marching band, and for 50 years one couple has made sure the Husker band looks its best.
It started in the 1971 season, but going back just a few years prior, Demetrios Deligiannis had a very different experience when he first arrived in America in 1969.
“I don’t speak English. I don’t read, I don’t write. What am I doing?”
The low wages, the challenges, and a growing family were all playing into thoughts of returning to Greece, with his wife Stamatia, who he met just after they both moved to America. However, some friendly words gave some inspiration: “You don’t speak English, but you’re a good tailor. You’ll make it.”
They did make it. With hard work and a little luck, Demetrios was able to buy a tailor shop. Stamatia says the earliest days were still difficult: “I tell you we were working hard. But we’re okay, we made it okay. Demetrios says, ‘Let’s go Stami, go to Greece’ and I say, ‘No, my girls are here, my granddaughter. I’ll stay here. I’ll die here.'”
A big sale would turn things around, then the ROTC would kickstart Demetrios’s journey of uniform work. It would lead to the Lincoln Police Department and eventually to the Husker Marching Band. It’s as tough a job as it sounds. The family works on around 300 pieces of clothing each season, and that’s on top of their regular business. But the experience adds up.
“So many years and I have it more easy”, says Demetrios. “I close my eyes and I do it. It is more easy. I know what I’m doing for the measurements, for everything.”
How many years will the Deligiannis family go? They don’t know for sure, but they say as long as they feel alright, they’ll keep at it.