RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College will host the inaugural presentation of the “Jim Marshall Veteran of the Year Award” at the Lyne Center on the university’s main campus.
The event will take place at 7:20 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 just before the men’s basketball game againsgt Wright State University-Lake.
Athletic Director Jeff Lanham said this will be the first presentation in what he hopes becomes a community tradition.
“This is going to be an annual award for veterans,” Lanham said. “The recipient will not have to be an athlete or even from Rio. This is our way of giving back to the veterans who have served or are serving our country and are continuing to serve and be leaders in their communities.”
Jim Marshall was a valued member of the Rio Grande men’s basketball team, where his character, attitude, performance and leadership served to create lifelong relationships with his teammates.
“A number of his teammates, mostly from the 1964-1966 seasons before Jim’s service, and his coach wanted to find a way to honor him. President Johnston helped create the idea for this award, which is now an official university award,” Lanham said. “As a veteran-friendly campus, we feel this is a good way to exemplify and honor our veterans with this award.”
Marshall left Rio to enlist in the U.S. military and serve his country during the Vietnam War as 1st sergeant, Kilo Battery, 4th Battalion, 13th Marines. He was injured in combat and awarded the Purple Heart. His strong desire to continue service to his country compelled him to joined the 684th Army National Guard in 1974. Art Lanham, men’s basketball coach and athletic director from 1960 to 1980, said Marshall left an impact on his teammates and the Rio community
“Jim was an extraordinary player with an amazing personality,” Art Lanham said. “When you ask a basketball coach what the difference is between a great basketball player and a good basketball player, they will tell you the great player is a complete package. In other words, even off the court they demonstrate themselves as a good person and upstanding citizen. Jim gave it all for the team. When he returned from Vietnam, he didn’t give up. He worked to recover from his injuries so he would be able to play again.”
Marshall, a resident of Lancaster, is known for a legacy of excellence, diligence, vigilance and insistence on excellence. He returned to Rio after his service and will be the first recipient of the award honoring his service.
“Jim’s dedication to get back in the game was unbelievable,” Art Lanham said. “His demeanor and perseverance even earned him respect from the opposing teams. This is only one of the many reasons we decided to honor him with this award. We want him to always be remembered at the University of Rio Grande.”
This new award is to be bestowed upon an individual in recognition of his or her military service, sacrifice and dedication to his country. The community is welcome to attend the event in support of Jim and veterans from around the tri-state. All veterans at the event will be honored during the presentation ceremony and have free entrance to all athletic events at Rio during the 2016-17 year.