American Legion Baseball not only positively impacts the lives of those who play, but also those who watch from the sidelines. That was the case for a Pennsylvania family who watched their son grow from a boy to a man when he played for the Legion Doylestown Tigers. Now, the family is making a financial impact – a $10,000 anonymous donation – to the Doylestown Tigers local Legion sponsor, Albert Atkinson Post 210. It's the family's way of thanking the Legionnaires for their ongoing "selfless support" to the team, as well as veterans in need of assistance.
Post 210 Commander Del Campbell and Adjutant Jack Strollo received the donation during the Doylestown Tigers July Fourth baseball game, which was titled "Support the Troops Day." A mock check was presented by former player and U.S. Marine Matthew Ponente, as well as the team's pitcher, Ben Tracy. The contributors wish to remain anonymous, stating that they "prefer to keep this donation not from (them) but from the Doylestown Tigers as the attention should be given to the Post (210) membership for all they do to not only support the team, but the community at large."
"I don't have the words to express our thanks," Strollo said. "I have been involved with The American Legion for over 17 years. In that time, I have never seen such a gracious and generous donation to our organization. The members of our post are most fortunate to have such a wonderful group of young adults playing on the Doylestown Tigers. Their excellence in the classroom, their commitment to community service, and the ways that they continue to give after they have stopped playing for the team reflect the outstanding values and character of giving service to others."
Steve Ruane, the Doylestown Tigers team manager, received a letter from the family describing the reason for their significant contribution. Part of the letter to Ruane read, "You stated that our son would participate in a highly competitive league, and he would learn a lot of baseball, and you mentioned how supportive the Post (210) was toward the baseball program to the point of giving a large percentage of their operating budget to you for the team. I remembered both points very clearly and made a promise to myself that if I were ever in a position to help the Post out with their expenses, I would do so.
"Clearly you and your staff succeeded with the first point as I've watched boys turn into men right before my eyes. I've been impressed with the level of commitment that you demand from the players not only on the field but off the field as well. Not to mention the level of commitment you demand from the parents too!
"In choosing your team, you not only look for how well a players hits, fields and throws, but whether he has the character that is necessary to fulfill the obligation required of a Post 210 player. They not only have to perform in a team environment but perform community service as well and that has always stuck with me.
"Well, here I find myself in a position to help the baseball program give back to the Post for all of the selfless support that they've given to the team over the years. Once again, many thanks for helping to make my son the man that he is today, and many thanks to Post 210 for affording you and your staff the opportunity to do just that."
Ruane said he has always encouraged his players to support veterans because by doing so, he "believes it fosters a much greater understanding of the world around them by getting to know these guardians of our freedom. Year after year I hear back from the parents that their sons come to us as boys and leave as men – you cannot ask anything more than that.
"These are wonderful young men, and we are so honored to be part of the overall Legion family."