Written by Jaime L. Tomeo Friday, 13 November 2009 00:00
At the 50th anniversary celebration of Levittown’s Division Avenue High School football program, a dedication of the Jim Amen Memorial Garden was held. The Garden, located at the south end of the football field, includes a personalized brick pathway.
Amen was a longtime football and baseball coach as well as physical education teacher in the Levittown School District. He passed away in 2001.
DAHS alumni Ralph Boettger and Gary Gardiner fundraised for the garden and ground was broken in 2005. The garden was completed this August.
“As an athletic director [at Dryden High School in upstate New York], part of my philosophy is to promote the great things my coaches do, whether it be community service or winning records, etc.,” Boettger, a class of 1973 alum, said. “I have a soft spot in my heart for those coaches who not only win but also who take time to really connect with their kids. Jim Amen did both, won in baseball and was totally committed to the athletes in Levittown.”
After the school district broke ground in 2005, Boettger, along with former classmates Debby Stecher McKosky, Tom Leyden, John Habel and Kathy Shade Lynch who planted flowers and erected a temporary plaque. More than 50 people attended the memorial service in 2005. Boettger said it was an “amazing moment and it was proof that it is never too late to honor someone important.”
“I work closely with Beth Thompson of the DAHS Guidance Department to come up with worthy candidates/winners,” Boettger said. “As is the case with the upkeep of the garden, continuous involvement/donations are what keeps Coach Amen’s memory alive.”
And his memory is still alive today within the DAHS community. Physical Education Chairperson and 1971 graduate Mauro Chiti played varsity baseball under Coach Amen.
“I can’t say enough about the man,” he said. “We were county champs in 1970 and runners-up in 1971. Outstanding teacher, coach, father figure and role model for all he came in contact with.”
The DAHS Student Council will be taking care of most of the garden’s upkeep as part of their community service.