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franklin county times

MLB youth baseball camp is wonderful experience

To the City of Red Bay,

It gives me great pride to be able to write to you on the tails of such a great privilege that you, the citizens of Red Bay and surrounding communities, gave to the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to put a camp on in your community.

From the moment I met Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, Mayor Charlene Fancher of Red Bay and the members of the local committee, it was evident that this event had the support of the city council and all the surrounding communities.

I can speak for the MLBPAA and the members that were part of this event that we love to give back to the kids. David Weathers, Donovan Hand, Dave Stapleton, Josh Willingham and I have been able to live out our dreams and just want to share it with those kids that dream big too. It is what we do as parents, coaches and mentors as we try to give life’s lessons in an “I got to live my dream, and here is how” event.

I want to thank the Governor’s Physical Fitness and Sports Commission Phil Holmes, Deanna Pack and Commission board member Rosalyn Fabianke for the recognition that the Commission gave to the community and officials who made this all possible. The proclamation is a tribute to the cause of the commission and the actions of a community to give opportunity to the generations that come on our heels and to honor a coach who gave his all to do the same thing. This all is due to the God-intended love and actions to provide leadership and opportunity.

I want to thank Jason Collum of the Red Bay News and Lauren Wester of the Franklin County Times, but I was disappointed that the Times-Daily Sports Editor Greg Dewalt didn’t see it important enough that such an event have some coverage, since his community supported it. Jason and Lauren spent a lot of time at the camp from start to stop, interviewing individuals and taking photographs to cover an event that was sports- and community-related. My hat is off to Jason and Lauren for their coverage and positive articles. I think Greg missed a great opportunity to cover his local youth participants in this function for his community.

I want to thank the town for allowing me and Donovan to be a part of the Tiger Den festivities at the football homecoming game Friday night and the support we witnessed as we were introduced to many individuals who represented the community. It was great to feel like we were at home, even hours away from our families. We now have a new extended family in the town of Red Bay and extend our warmest gratitude for allowing us to be a part of such a great opportunity.

We got to work with a great town, their youth and to honor a man (Olan Cunningham) for his service as a coach and mentor for so many individuals as they made the journey from youth to adult and had his guidance along the way. What a tribute that will be honored annually.

I want to thank Richard Maggerise, Dean Hubbard, Tony Shackleford, Justin Humphries and Kelby Hallmark for stepping up and providing their time and knowledge to be a part of the activities. They did an excellent job, and it was great to have local coaches involved. I truly believe it is an honor for the MLBPAA to have local coaches involved in these events to ensure an atmosphere of teamwork as an example for future coaches and players.

It was our privilege to be surrounded by so many parents, coaches, officials and, especially, the young players as we get to share with a community that shared with us.

Thank you from the MLBPAA for this wonderful experience in our first MLBPAA Legends Youth Camp in Alabama.

Randy McGilberry