By Melody Vallieu
TROY — Having a rest outside Hobart Arena’s entrance will have a whole new meaning for some with Saturday’s placement of a memorial bench by the Troy Skating Club.
When the Troy Skating Club lost one of their own — beloved coach Jeanie Dreiling last year to cancer — members knew they had to do something to remember her, according to Leah Hartzell, skating director for the Troy Skating Club. The club started a memorial scholarship, had a fundraiser and eventually came up with the idea of a bench to honor Dreiling — and others in the future, Hartzell said.
“We lost Jeannie very quickly and very unexpectedly, it was truly devastating to us,” Hartzell said. “We didn’t know how we could get back on the ice after the summer without her. But we knew right away we needed to honor her in some way. There is no question her contribution to the club through the years deserved recognition.
“Beyond Jeannie there have been hundreds of people through the years who have impacted TSC, her legacy will now live on, as will as many others,” Hartzell said.
The bench, made of brown metal, with a center plaque that reads Troy Skating Club Est. 1952, also will have space for smaller plaques to be added with the names of other chosen important members/contributors to Troy Skating Club.
The bench has been placed outside the south end of the arena next to a garden bed under a large tree and looks out on Adams Street, Troy Community Park and the levee.
According to Hartzell, Dreiling came to Troy Skating Club as an adult in her 40s, who had loved to skate as a girl but had never had proper lessons. She started taking lessons from then director Sarah Shuler Coughlin, and the rest was history, Hartzell said.
“Jeannie took to the ice quickly and loved it,” Hartzell said. “From there she became more involved with the club and Sarah noticed how great she was with young children and asked her if she would be interested in coaching Learn to Skate Classes. From there she went on to coach and volunteer for the club for 18 years.”
Beyond her on-ice contributions, Dreiling would dress up like a clown for Halloween parties at Hobart Arena, sew or knit clothes and gifts for the coaches and skaters and volunteered countless hours at our competition and other events, Hartzell said. Dreiling and her husband Dennis also were part of the Hobart Arena staff ushering at concerts, working public skates and other special events hosted at the arena.
Hartzell said Dreiling worked well with everyone from small children to adults and is missed within the club.
“Jeannie was much loved by everyone at the club. Especially the skaters. She was such a kind soul. We always joked she was like skating with your grandma,” Hartzell said. “She was such fun on the ice with the kids, she taught many skaters who have gone on to continue their skating or become hockey players their first steps on ice.”
Reach Melody Vallieu at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 552-2131