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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Joe Kilinski, 88, Recognized as Most Devoted Patriots Fan by Broadalbin-Perth

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BROADALBIN — In the world of Broadalbin-Perth athletics, there’s one fan who stands out from⁣ the rest, according ​to athletic director Tucker ‌Gifford. That fan is ‌none other‌ than Joe Kilinski.

At the ripe age of 88, Kilinski has been a constant ⁤presence at ⁢Broadalbin-Perth High School games, even before ‍the school bore‍ its current name.

“I’ve been a fixture since 1952,” Kilinski shared. “I’ve made‌ it to nearly every home game and‌ even a handful of the away games.”

During⁢ a recent Patriots game against Fonda-Fultonville, ‍the Broadalbin-Perth community ​took a moment at halftime to honor Kilinski’s unwavering support over the past seven decades.

“We wanted to express our gratitude ⁤to our loyal fans, and ⁢Joe has been ​a constant at our games for as long as⁣ anyone can remember,” Gifford explained. “We felt it was time to do something special for him,⁣ as‌ he’s always there cheering⁣ on our coaches and teams. He’s a pillar ⁣of our community. ⁤We coordinated with his family to make‌ it‌ a surprise.”

At the halftime ceremony, Gifford invited Kilinski ​to center court, where he​ was⁤ warmly welcomed by​ a line of current Broadalbin-Perth ​coaches and student-athletes.

Then, his family made their entrance.

Family members traveled​ from nearby towns like Speculator⁤ and East Greenbush, while others journeyed​ from as far as Florida, Texas, and⁣ Virginia.

Together, they watched as Gifford presented Kilinski with the inaugural ‘Most Dedicated Patriot‍ Fan Award.’

“They all showed up today for some reason. I just couldn’t put my finger ‌on why,” Kilinski joked about the unexpected ​family reunion.

Going forward, the award will be known as the ‘Joe​ Kilinski​ Most Dedicated Patriot Fan ‌Award.’

As⁤ the ceremony unfolded, Kilinski was overwhelmed.

“I was ‍at ⁢a⁢ loss for words,” Kilinski admitted with a chuckle.

After the halftime ceremony, Joe Kilinski⁣ and‌ his family​ enjoyed a private reception nearby, complete with chocolate cake and plenty of catching up.

This marked ⁤the first time the entire family had gathered since 2016, when they came together⁣ for the ⁣funeral of Anne Kilinski, Joe’s wife of 61 years.

Joe, a Perth High School alumnus, met Anne,‌ a ⁢Broadalbin High ⁤School‌ graduate, in 1952. They married in 1955 and had seven children and 58 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, while also fostering a total of​ 88 children over ​the ‍years.

Kilinski was a familiar face at ⁢his⁢ children and grandchildren’s athletic events, cheering them on in football, soccer, volleyball,‍ baseball, softball, and ‍wrestling.

Even after all these‍ years, he remains a dedicated fan.

“My mother [Anne] ‌ was busy⁣ with the younger kids⁤ and our foster⁤ children, so⁣ she didn’t make it to many games,” ‍Joe’s daughter Kirsten Kilinski said in a press release from the school. “But we could always ‍count ⁢on ‍seeing Dad in the stands.”

“He’s a quiet supporter,” said ‍Gifford. “He’s always there, cheering us ⁣on. He might ⁤look ​familiar, but not everyone knows who he ⁢is. He’s just ‌always there.”

When⁢ Gifford proposed the idea of honoring Joe to the Kilinski family, he had no idea they hadn’t all been together in nearly eight years.

“They⁢ were overjoyed ⁢and so⁤ grateful, which was heartwarming because they know how much he cares. To see ‌them come from all over to support‌ him ​was truly special,”⁤ Gifford said. “It ​was a memorable night and I’m glad we⁤ made it ⁤happen.”

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Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan, an informed and passionate sports reporter, is a former college athlete with a degree in Sports Communication from Ithaca College. Go Bombers!
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