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Heuvelton dedicates field, scoreboard to Stephanie Putney

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HEUVELTON – The lights on the new Coach Putney Field scoreboard were turned on at 3:30 p.m. Friday in front of a crowd of nearly 100 people, all cheering.

The score board and field have both been named after the late Stephanie Putney, longtime coach, teacher and athletic director at Heuvelton Central School. She died on July 3, 2010. At Friday’s dedication ceremony, former students, friends of the family and current athletes gathered to remember the woman who made a massive impact on the sporting and educational atmosphere at Heuvelton.

Howard P. Putney, Ms. Putney’s husband, said his wife “shared in an international movement summed up in one word: equality.”

Mr. Putney described his wife as a woman committed to “women’s liberation” and the idea that everyone can have an impact on the world.

“Moral courage is a rare commodity,” he said, speaking about how his wife was a pioneer in women’s coaching, often facing pressure to quit from “the good ol’ boys club.”

Mr. Putney said his wife was a huge advocate of the phrase “go, girl! Go!” and was “an eternal optimist.”

Taking on a more somber note, Mr. Putney said the young Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousufzai, who is recovering in the United Kingdom after an attempted assassination by the Taliban, is a symbol of the kind of change his wife sought to bring about locally.

“The greatest risk for the Taliban in Pakistan is not U.S. drones, it’s educated girls,” he said.

Addressing the crowd, Mr. Putney closed by saying, “people like Coach, Malala and Rosie the Riveter have set you up to be empowered.”

He encouraged those attending to take every opportunity to stand up for equality and make the world a better place the way his wife did. Jonathan S. Putney, Ms. Putney’s son, also spoke at the ceremony.

“When I walked up and saw that sign, it’s amazing,” he said of the score board. “From the bottom of my heart I thank you all.

Superintendent Susan E. Todd said Ms. Putney was “a pioneer in women’s athletics and a dedicated employee for over 35 years.”

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