Benefit baseball raises $1,600 for DCT chapter
Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Julie Wagman, organizer of the 2014 Benefit Baseball Game for Dream Come True - Blue Ridge Chapter, honors Gary D. Andrew, who had organized the event for 16 years. From left are, Wagman, Tori Lear, soloist; and Nick Hawkey, vice president of Dream Come True - Blue Ridge Chapter.
A group of youngsters is making sure the legacy of Gary D. Andrew will never be forgotten. The Walnutport man died on May 26, 2013. He was very active with the Walnutport Playground Association.
For 16 years, he had organized the 11 and 12 year old Bulldog Baseball Team and the 14 and Under Bulldog Girls Softball Team to play a benefit baseball games which raised funds for Dream Come True.
This year's game, held Saturday, Sept. 21, was played in his honor.
Coordinating the event this year was Julie Wagman, a former player and Andrew's assistant, who gathered a committee to continue Andrew's tradition.
"We need to do this for him," said Wagman. "He did this for 16 years and it's extremely important that we continue the tradition."
Wagman said Andrew served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and was active in the Walnutport Playground Association Board since 2001.
He started his baseball career as an umpire and was a head coach of the Connie Mack Team and was a former president of the Northern Lehigh Baseball Association and was an assistant junior varsity coach.
Wagman thanked her committee who helped make this year's event, the 17th annual game a success. The event raised $1,600 for Dream Come True through donations, a raffle and a Chinese auction. All of the proceeds of the night were donated to Dream Come True - Blue Ridge Chapter.
"We had 54 Chinese auction items and all the pizza we sold was donated by Valley Pizza," she said.
Wagman opened the game by giving a tribute to Andrew.
"Andrew passed a couple of months ago and we are doing this in honor of Gary," she said. "I was his assistant and he passed the desire to me."
She introduced Nick Hawkey, a vice president of Dream Come True.
"We completed some very interesting dreams this past year," said Hawkey. "One of them included granting a dream for a boy who wanted a Martin guitar." He added that Dream Come True provides dreams for terminally, seriously and chronically ill children.
"Dream Come True thanks all of you for supporting our sick children, because without you we wouldn't be able to do what we do," said Hawkey. "Gary, this game is for you."
Singing the national anthem was Tori Lear, who also entertained the crowd before the game.
Rain began falling soon after the game was under way. The event was later called due to wet field conditions.
Umpires for the event were Leon Fritz and Ken Bond.
"We're already discussing next year's event," Wagman said. "It's going to be bigger and better and it's not going to rain next year. The skies will be sunny."
Wagman said that she was pleased with the community's support of the event.
"A lot of people believe in Dream Come True," she said. "We want to continue Gary's legacy."