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A Shelter Island ‘George to the Rescue’:

Town Councilman Colligan submitted this tribute to George Kneeland, to thank him for the selfless work he’s done for the community.

“George to the Rescue” was a popular TV show that aired on NBC for 12 seasons. The show featured host and contractor George Oliphant, who along with top interior designers and contractors, teamed up to help deserving families and communities with much-needed home renovations. Through inspiring stories of overcoming challenges, this uplifting series highlighted the best of the human spirit. 

Shelter Island has its own “George.” His name is George Kneeland, an educator, community volunteer and driving force for the upgrading of the basketball courts at Fiske Field.

George has connected with the Lions Club, an organization that supports community projects on Shelter Island. The Lions have hosted the digital end of the fundraising efforts for the past year. According to George, “They are really the engine behind the scenes. They’ve reshaped their website for this endeavor and many members have helped processing the contributions and writing the acknowledgement letters.”

Police Chief Jim Read has also been instrumental in helping guide the mission for the renovation of the Fiske Field courts.

The Shelter Island School owns the property and has played a key role in its renovation. A special “Thank You” to School Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D., the Board of Education and Mike Dunning for their continued support.

This facility is more than just basketball courts, it serves as a gathering place for our youth and their families, as well as a place for adults to exercise in a variety of recreational classes.

Both George and the Lions Club would like to thank the dozens of people who have donated money to make this happen. Their generosity and acts of community pride have not gone unnoticed. The renovations at the community basketball courts are ongoing and donations can still be made directly to the Shelter Island Lions Club Foundation under the “Support the Courts” fundraising endeavor at shelterislandlions.org.

George has broken the total renovation down into five phases: Phase 1, the replacement of the six backboards and Phase 2, repaving the entire court area, have been completed.

Phase 3 will involve sealing the courts and repainting lines utilizing the school colors of Blue & Gray from the 3-point-line to the baseline. That work is expected to be completed by July 4th weekend. Phase 4 involves the new landscaping of the berm/front area of the courts to make it more functional, and aesthetic, as well as to control water runoff onto the courts. The last phase will entail repairs to the parking area and to combat water runoff from Bateman Road.

Although there have been sufficient funds raised to support the first three phases of this project, additional funds would be greatly appreciated to complete the remaining two phases. George has continued to express his deep appreciation to all of the donors and is excited to see this important recreational area become a safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing place that helps maintain the pride of Shelter Island.

Finally, a special “Thank You” to the Shelter Island 5K Fall Run/Walk Committee for their thoughtful and generous gift of a bench at the courts, honoring the memory of Evan Kraus.