Community unveils memorial for Granger teen nearly one year after death

NOW: Community unveils memorial for Granger teen nearly one year after death


GRANGER, Ind. — A memorial for a Granger teen killed last June was unveiled in his honor on Saturday. 

Nolan Gerwels died after a basketball hoop and backboard came loose and landed on him. Gerwels, a sports enthusiast, was showing his sister how to play basketball when the nearly 260-pound goal came down on him. 

On Saturday, his family and friends came together to present a memorial spread at the Harris Baseball and Softball Fields on Currant Road. The community paid for the following renovations: 

  • A press box, 
  • A row of seats with the teen’s initials and number, 
  • Two plaques dedicated to Gerwels,
  • And a decal with his name and number. 

One of the plaques dedicated to Gerwels reads:

"This memorial celebrates the life of Nolan Christopher Gerwels. It shall serve as a reminds to those who knew Nolan as a baseball player, consummate teammate and positive example as a member of the Harris Community. Nolan was more than a baseball player. He was a leader, friend, son and brother. Nolan was a kind and caring person who valued hard work, fairness and loyalty. He was dedicated to everything he did. He gave everything and everyone one hundred percent of himself. Nolan was always willing to help anyone. He was just an all-around great kid and nice guy. He is loved dearly by his family, friends and community.

Nolan had a plethora of passions and believed in many things. Nolan wrote the below statement for a school assignment in Spring 2018.

I BELIEVE, by Nolan Gerwels

I believe in The Process. I believe LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan. I believe in our president, Donald Trump. I believe in Giannis Antetokounmpo as the future NBA MVP, as well as the Bucks being NBA Finals contenders in less than a decade. I believe in the combination of yogurt and granola, as well as a Five Guys burger and a shake. I believe in spoonfuls of peanut butter. I believe hard work is the way to succeed. I believe in Martin's doughnuts on a Sunday morning. I believe in compliments. I believe in the power of music on emotions. I believe in second chances. I believe in problem solving. I believe it is the Indian, not the arrow, when it comes to gun control. I believe Bob Marley when he says 'Every little thing, gonna be alright.' I believe in long weekends of baseball or basketball tournaments. I believe anything can be done, if you put your heart to it. I believe Ice Mountain is the best kind of water. I believe in friendships, they help you lots in life. I believe in countless hours studying stats for Fantasy Football season, as well as the smack talk that comes with it. Lastly, I believe laughter is the best medicine."

The renovations and additions were all made to Field 7, where Gerwels played on for two years. Gerwels’ uncle, Josh Ellenson, said the Gerwels’ family was instrumental in bringing baseball back to the complex because many teams play on the road. 

“When someone comes here and they see the Nolan Memorial,” said Josh Ellenson, Gerwels’ uncle. “They can maybe come back here and say this is a nice place to play softball and hopefully enjoy this area and read about who Nolan was.”

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