Proud “Nominate a Goodie” Partner
Last spring, community generosity turned a strikeout into a home run for South Salem Little League.
Pitching machines and other equipment needed to start the season were stolen from the league’s shed. Recovering from a $6,000 loss when an organization is run on volunteers and donations makes for a rough start.
“The kids were resilient,” Sunny Vogt said. “We were open and honest and talked about how theft affected them. They were the victims of the crime.”
Adversity brought a “fighting spirit” to the spring season.
“It was kind of like we had something to fight for,” Vogt said. “We had an adversarial chip on our shoulder, and it gave us a cause. For our older boys, they kind of put back the pieces by assembling the replaced pitching machines. They understood more how crime really hurts a community.”
The stolen property may have temporarily crippled the club, but a valuable lesson was learned,” Vogt said.
“It took away so much, but the outpouring of support we felt just couldn’t be put into words,” she said. “We had one woman whose son played in the league 30 years ago write us a check for $500 dollars.”
Recently the storage shed that sits at Judson Middle School was hit again by taggers.
“We are working with the city to re-locate the shed to a more visible location,” Vogt said. “We are working on re-designing the building so it is harder to break into.”
Parents and businesses stepped up to donate whatever they could.
“Capitol Auto Group wrote us a check, Santiam Bicycle donated a new heavy duty lock, and many others stepped up to support the kids and the league,” Vogt said.
Farmers Insurance Group organized a car wash, and Withnell Motor Company donated staff and equipment to help wash cars and raise funds to beef up the South Salem Little League General Fund. Dan Winegar, with Farmers Direct Repair, helped organize the car wash.
“It just hit me, that I could do this for South Salem Little League,” Winegar said. “I got Withnell paint shops to donate water and ice cream, employees and car wash supplies. I don’t have children, but Little League is important to the community. It gives the children something to do, at a time where programs are getting cut.”
Vogt believes everyone connects in some manner with Little League.
“It’s baseball, but community is bigger,” she said. “The game itself is all about life lessons, but this pre-season lesson showed the value of volunteerism and a community pulling together.”