A plaque fastened to the side of the newly unveiled Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field concession stand lists the names of three dozen donors whose contributions made the facility possible.
From the beginning, though, they never sought publicity or recognition.
The project was about giving back, about remembering Thomas and his legacy, and giving future Shoreham-Wading River students a better experience on the field where so many football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse games would be contested.
“They didn’t want to be named,” said Thomas’ father, Frank. “They all did it for the community, for the [Thomas] Cutinella [Memorial] Foundation.”
Mr. Cutinella and his wife, Kelli, cut the ribbon Friday to formally open the new concession stand and many of the donors who contributed were honored during a brief ceremony. Mr. Cutinella acknowledged that while the donors didn’t seek any recognition, it was only fitting that a plaque list their names.
“We thought that it would be appropriate for them, because that’s the kind of people they were,” he said during a speech before the ribbon-cutting. “They were there for us, they were there for the community and they’re an asset to their community and us.”
Mr. Cutinella estimated that the concession stand cost around $750,000, including kitchen equipment, septic system, bathrooms and labor.
The field has never before had bathrooms to accommodate spectators during sporting events.
Mr. Cutinella said every brick in the building was donated.
“It was a total community team effort,” he said. “There’s no project that’s been like this anywhere in Suffolk County, a project through donations like this. Such a massive project. It’s pretty awesome.”
Three years ago, Ken Gray of Wading River — one of the project managers — addressed the district’s Board of Education on the donors’ behalf to announce the pledge to improve the facilities around the recently renovated field. At the time, he said the donors preferred to remain anonymous.
Shoreham Superintendent Gerard Poole said construction on the concession stand began in the spring of 2017. Friday’s opening came just before the start of the boys lacrosse team’s game against Harborfields. Fittingly, the Wildcats won, 11-7, to remain undefeated.
“What a wonderful gift for the Shoreham-Wading River community,” Mr. Poole said during the ceremony. “What a wonderful gift for our students, who I know are already taking a great sense of pride in having this concession stand here — and what a gift for learning.”
Shoreham students will work at the stand as part of a new career development program, Mr. Poole said.
The concession stand also features a plaque honoring all of the championship teams from the sport teams that now use the facility.
Mr. Cutinella said that plaque was suggested by the Cutinella Foundation. Now that this project is completed, Mr. Cutinella said, the foundation would be open to taking on any smaller projects around the field.
In May 2015, the school board voted to rename the field Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field. The turf field was completed in early 2016 and opened in time for the spring sports season that year. Mr. Cutinella praised school administrators and board members for their efforts to see this project to the finish line.
As he concluded his remarks to the audience Friday, Mr. Cutinella said: “This is a gift from Thomas to you.”