The Jackie Robinson Celebration Game, held at Historic Dodgertown on April 15, brought in over $18,000 to support children and families in Indian River County. Benefits to this community from that particular game included more than just dollars.
It all started when Brady Ballard, Vice-President of Historic Dodgertown, called Michael Kint, United Way CEO, and made a proposal. The two organizations had worked together on a Triple-A league baseball game two years ago. Now, Historic Dodgertown, staying true to its name, wanted to celebrate the 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day at a special event designed to benefit this community in multiple ways.
Kint couldn’t turn down the opportunity to bring minor league baseball to this community for $5 a ticket, making it affordable for most families, at the same time raising money to support the United Way’s work of changing community conditions for people in need.
Over 4,000 spectators showed up to watch the Brevard County Manatees host the Lakeland Flying Tigers in spite of torrential rain as close as Sebastian and threatening storms. The weather over the stadium stayed dry, little leaguers marched around the field in uniform and stood with the professional players for the national anthem, Dodger Dogs were sold, there were raffles, contests, armbands and mascots. The lights came on to finish the game which was followed by a spectacular display of fireworks. It was everything you could want from Holman Stadium. This amazing experience was organized by committee chair Lynn Hall.
The tribute to Jackie Robinson, professional baseball’s first African-American player, is especially poignant here in Vero Beach where he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948.
“We are so appreciative of the local businesses and organizations that pitched in to keep the cost low for attendees, and the volunteers that gave countless hours doing the “legwork” to pull it off. Indian River County Parks, Utilities, and the Sheriff’s Office provided invaluable assistance. Special thanks, of course, to Historic Dodgertown for making this game happen, sharing their unique history with the whole community,” commented Kint. “The overwhelming support and participation may lead to this becoming a tradition here in Vero Beach.”
United Way of Indian River County is encouraging people in the community to LIVE UNITED by donating to the annual campaign, helping spread the word about programs and services that help people in need, and volunteering their time and talent to a local cause. For more information on how you can LIVE UNITED and help create a brighter future for those in need in our community, please call 772-567-8900 or visit our website www.unitedwayirc.org.