Homer Marshall grew up in tough times in Frankfurt, PA, which is part of the Burgettstown Area School District.  Homer being the eldest sibling which consisted of 3 brothers and 3 sisters was forced to quit high school and go to work thus ending any chance of his own wrestling career.  "When my father passed away, mom said she needed help.  That was pretty much it, I signed out of high school and went to work."

Homers introduction to the sport of wrestling was becoming his two younger brothers, Bob and Floyd's, biggest fan.  Bob was crowned a PA State Champion and Floyd a runner-up.  Both brothers had phenomenal collegiate careers with Bob becoming a 3- time Big 10 champ and 3- time Division 1 All- American for Purdue.  Floyd would become Findlay Colleges first NAIA National Champion.  Bob served as the head coach at Delaware Valley while Floyd held the head coaching position at Norwin High School.  Both brothers were inducted into the PA High School Wrestling Hall of Fame with Homer in attendance.  Always there to support, always in the background, always proud.  "Being a competitive person you always wonder what you could of accomplished if circumstances allowed, but God deals us all a hand and you play it out as best you can.  I have no regrets"

Homer recognized being surrounded by perennial powers such as Canon McMillan, Trinity, Wash High, ect., that something was missing from the Burgettstown Wrestling Program.  That is when he and the late John "Sugar" Zuccarro, co-founded the Burgettstown Cadets Youth Wrestling Program in 1961.  "We recognized that other schools all had youth feeder programs and we needed to establish our own to stay competitive.  High schools started wrestling before us, and we were already behind.  We needed to catch up, and the program took off immediately."  Over the following years, Homer served in a number of capacities within the cadet program.  "I served as the President, Director of Affairs, Head Coach, Assistant Coach, and continued as a board member until retiring after 30 years in 2001.  Throughout the time as Cadet Head Coach, Marshall remembers names and faces of many talented kids.  However, one of his fondest memories was the 1981 team which set a WPIAL record crowning 5 individual WPIAL champions.  "I coached all five of those kids in the cadets.   Although each of them wrestled completely different styles, they all had on thing in common, they knew basic fundamentals."  Those wrestlers, the fabulous five, returned home and were honored at the Burgettstown Invitational Wrestling Tournament in 2002.  They traveled from different parts of the country to attend the reunion.  "That's what makes this such a great sport, you develop bonds, there is a camaraderie.  Those kids will be lifelong friends because of that night in Charleroi High School. That is special."

Terry Havelka, the head wrestling coach at Burgettstown ,  recognizes the significance of a strong youth program.  "Integrating the cadet program has made a huge impact on the success of our program over the years.  Coach Sedlak, Coach Nicollela, and myself have all benefited greatly from our youth program.  There has been a lot of talent that walked through the wrestling room doors with the majority of those participating in our youth program."

Homer also served as an assistant Jr. High coach with Havelka years ago.  "Homer was always one to spend time with every kid in the room.  He is extremely intense and a great competitor.  I can understand why he was close to unbeatable in his distance running career."

Marshall was inducted into the Washington County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 for distance running.   "I enjoy the one -on- one aspect of wrestling.  It is much like distance running, you have to beat the guy in front of you.  Most of that occurs before the meet by training hard physically and mentally.  You are the guy out there, so you cant blame anybody but yourself."

You can still locate Homer at Burgettstown home matches and many tournaments.  Havelka says, with a chuckle, "He's still sitting in the same spot, front row, wrestling every match in his seat."

This award was created to memorialize Dr. Kurt Nellis for his community service and dedication to amateur wrestling.  The award recognizes an individual who has served  their community through the sport of amateur wrestling from Western Pennsylvania.

"When I was called, I was shocked.  I thought I was being pranked.  I must say that I am truly grateful and honored to be selected for this award.  All of us who treasure the sport of wrestling know that it gets in your blood and truly never leaves."

 After forty seven years, Homer Marshall has proven his dedication to the sport of wrestling.  The Burgettstown resident has been named the 2008 recipient of the Dr. Kurt Nellis Memorial Award.