UNION — The Arthur State Bank Junior Board of Directors is seeking the assistance of business in making it possible for special needs children and adults to play baseball in Union County.
In 2012, Union County Council voted unanimously to allow the league to use Field No. 1 at the Timken Sports Complex. Before the league can use the field, however, it must be modified for the special needs athletes that will be playing on it. The modification will involve the installation of a completely flat, low-impact surface that will support any mobility aid including walkers and wheelchairs. The modification is projected to cost approximately $250,000.
Later that year, the Timken Family Foundation of Canton, Ohio, awarded a $25,000 grant to the league to help cover the cost of the modification of the field. In awarding the grant, the foundation issued a challenge to the people of Union County to raise another $60,000 for the league by Aug. 13, 2013. If the challenge amount is raised by that time, the foundation will match it with another $60,000.
This week, the Union Rotary Club learned about the efforts of the Arthur State Bank Junior Board of Directors to assist the league in raising money it needs for the match.
John Gregory, director of the Junior Board of Directors, began by briefing the Rotarians about the board and its growth over the years before turning the program over to its chairperson, Gray Ransom, who reviewed the community projects the group has taken over the years.
“As Arthur State Bank Junior Board Members we are challenged each term to choose a project,” Ransom said. “Looking back at the previous terms the Arthur State Bank Junior Board has impacted the community and helped raise awareness and funds to help individuals and groups in our own community.
“The first term the members chose Make A Wish and raised over $7,500 to make a Union County child’s dream come true,” he said. “The second term the members raised $3,500 to help the Potter’s House and also helped at the food distribution center as part of the project. The third term the members chose Relay for Life and as the Arthur State Bank Junior Board of Directors Cancer Slayers we were able to raise over $9,500 to help fight for a cure. We did not do this alone it took you and other Union County citizens to make all of the projects a success.”
Ransom thanked the Rotarians for their support of the junior board’s past projects, adding that he and his fellow members are looking forward to improving the lives of Union County residents with the help of Rotary Club and other local groups, businesses and individuals.
Board member Kelsie Coker also addressed the club, explaining the purpose of the junior board and its latest community project.
“The junior board program is an educational program designed to expose students to areas of the banking environment, promote civic responsibility, and educate students with scheduled programs during monthly meetings,” Coker said. “As a junior board member, we serve as ambassadors of Arthur State Bank and sponsor a community project.
“For this year’s community project we are partnering with The Miracle League of Union County to raise money to complete the ball field that will benefit children with special needs and also our Wounded Warriors,” she said. “The field will provide our Union County’s special loved individuals the enjoyment of what is an All American pastime, the game of baseball.”
In his address to the club, Vice Chair Trey Smith discussed the joy playing baseball brings to children and how the Miracle League helps special needs children experience that joy.
“There is something about playing the game of baseball that lights up a youngsters’ eyes, but for children facing mental and physical challenges that opportunity can often be a difficult first step,” Smith said. ” During a Miracle League game every child is given the opportunity to hit the ball and score a run. Miracle Teams are assigned buddies who assist the players in running bases and hitting the ball and enjoying the game. The buddies can be fellow classmates, parents, college students, me and even you.”
Smith said the dream of providing the special needs children and adults of Union County with a place where they can play baseball is getting close to being a reality.
“The field has been selected at the Timken Complex and Union County has stepped up,” Smith said. “Now making the field accessible is the mision. The Timken Foundation gave The Miracle League of Union County a challenge. If the Miracle League were able to raise the $60,000 then the Timken Foundation would match the proceeds. The Miracle League of Union needs about $22,000 to meet this goal and we, the Arthur State Bank Junior Board of Directors have stepped up to the plate to help the league get closer to the goal.”
The junior board’s goal is to raise $7,500 or $300 per member for the league.
Smith said a number of business are already helping the junior board in its efforts meet its goal. They include:
• Almost Pink
• Arthur State Bank
• Cherry Blossom Restaurant
• David Sinclair Automotive
• Forest Street Grill
• Gault Small Engine
• Gene’s Fine Food
• Gene’s Hair Styling
• Hospice Care of SC
• Kirby’s Cake Shoppe
• Pete’s Restaurant
• Smith Jewelers
• Stacy’s Interior Design
• The Tan Shop
• Unclaimed Furniture
• Union Family Pharmacy
• Union Oil Mill
• Union County Sheriff’s Office
• USC Union
• White, Diamaduros & Diamaduros Law Firm
• Union County YMCA
Smith said the junior board is looking for more businesses to join those already participating and “Catch The Spirit and sell the Sprit Baseball Fields” or make a donation. He said each Spirit Baseball Fields costs $1 and the person who buys one may put their name or that of a loved on it and have it displayed in the business they bought it at showing their support for this cause.
Businesses interested in helping sponsor the project are urged to contact Gregory at 427-1213. Smith said the members of the junior board will then bring them the Catch The Spirit fliers and the Spirit Baseball Fields.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.