A young girl who inspired teammates and two longtime sports volunteers were memorialized last Saturday with the renaming of three ball diamonds in Elma’s Creek Road Park.
Katie Durkin, Ron Reid and Rick Reed all left their marks in the Elma-Marilla-Wales sports community in their own ways, said Elma Supervisor Dennis Powers.
“These are people who will forever be playing baseball and softball in our hearts,” said Powers.
Katie was just 9 years old when she died last year in a tragic car crash on Two Rod Road in Marilla. The Wales Primary School student enjoyed playing softball and soccer and is remembered as a friendly, creative and bright young girl.
Powers shared a thought about Katie during Wednesday’s Town Council meeting.
Katie loved rainbows, and on the evening before she died, a double rainbow appeared in the skies above Creek Road Park, where she was playing softball.
“At the opening ceremonies this year, at the Minor Girls Field, a similar double rainbow appeared,” said Powers, his voice cracking with emotion as he related the story. The Minor Girls Field now carries her name.
The Senior Boys Field was rededicated in memory of Ron Reid, a 1957 Iroquois graduate and an Army veteran. Reid volunteered in EMW Sports baseball as a coach, baseball board member, groundskeeper and equipment manager. A father of three, he was commissioner for five years until he died in 1986.
Major Boys Field was dedicated in honor of Reed for his loyalty and many years of service to the community’s youth.
Reed, who died in September 2014, was instrumental in starting the travel baseball and softball program for EMW Sports and served on the EMW board for 18 years, including 15 as commissioner. The father of seven was said to have “a natural gift to deal with situations that arose within the program,” while his honesty and loyalty left a legacy of strong young men and women.
Powers said the dedication attracted about 150 people.