If you wonder whether true goodness still exists in the world, look no farther than your own backyard. I would like to say that there most definitely is! The people of this community have demonstrated that over and over again.
When Rockford Pony Baseball/Softball first received word that the property they occupy on Meridian Road would be sold and they would have to vacate, treasurer Ken Helds first thought was, Turn out the lights. It has been a good run! For him, that run has spanned 25 of the 42 years Rockford Pony Baseball at Roy Gayle Park has provided youth baseball and softball at the facility. He is a major contributor to the success of the program and a leader among his peers. If he had hung up his hat, it would have been over. The news was overwhelming. To try to save the program seemed like an insurmountable task.
As the word got out that the organization was being faced with eviction, friends as well as strangers literally came out of the cracks in support of our program. This outpouring of support made Mr. Held rethink his position. He and the other members of the executive board of directors discussed how to proceed. A plan was developed. The resolution changed from one of defeat to a resolution of fight to the end.
Support has come from all sectors of the community. Politicians, business leaders, small business owners, local celebrities, other charitable organizations, citizens, and even the children of our program have rallied to support our efforts. That support has come in a variety of ways from monetary backing, offering services at a discounted rate or free of charge, donating time, offering words of encouragement to our organization, and networking to spread the news of our need. This community has fueled our passion to see that this endeavor is successful. Every entity has offered a unique adjunct to our efforts. We could not do it without their assistance, and without them, would not be where we are today.
Our group has met so many wonderful people throughout this. It has been inspiring to see, firsthand, the goodness that has been demonstrated. Thank you, wonderful people of the Rock River Valley. Thank you for making a difference in your community.
Michele Smith is a resident of the city of Winnebago.