State Farm donates


State Farm agents from left: Shayne Sasseen, Tom Paul, John White, Linda Sasseen and Tom Clark. Greg Brown is not shown.

Local State Farm agents donate $3k

to save youth baseball team, Morris Park

 

Story and photo by Gary Bégin

Many of us have played little league baseball, but most youth ballclubs across America get a large portion of their revenue from gate sales, concession sales and team/player fees. Unfortunately, though the game is as American as apple pie, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge slice of the traditional revenue stream from thousands of junior level ballclubs across the nation.

Wenatchee youth baseball was on the edge of closing for the summer because of a lack of this normal income until Linda Sasseen, a local State Farm agent, and five of her fellow local agents, banded together to help save the near future of the team and Morris Park.

Linda said, "We all have fond memories of this place as most of our families have known someone that has spent a lot of time here.  Also, it’s such a great activity for youth and that’s what we are all about. We enjoy giving back to the community and this is exactly who we love to help.

"We are just hoping that our donation will help sustain them through the year with funds they are missing due to COVID," she said.

Linda wasn't the only contributor with fond memories.

State Farm Agent Tom Clark said, "I have lived in Wenatchee for most of my life and I was fortunate enough to participate in Little League Baseball in my youth and play many seasons at Morris League Park. My first experience in sports and competition occurred at Morris League Park. I can fondly still recall the excitement of playing there, making new friends, competing to win, and enjoying the reward of my favorite snow cone following each game.

"Whether you won or lost the games is long forgotten, but the memories I created playing there will last my lifetime. I was happy we could make a contribution which will help the park get through the shutdown created this summer during the pandemic and I look forward to the park reopening in the future and allowing the youth in our community to form their own lifetime memories.  Morris League Park is a community treasure for the Wenatchee Valley," concluded Clark, whose agency is in East Wenatchee.

Linda has known about the Wenatchee Youth Baseball (WYB) facility located on the south end of Morris Park for years. In the fall of 2019, newly built batting cages were installed providing a complete and more spacious facility for Wenatchee Youth Baseball teams, coaches, and community members to enjoy.

Several weeks ago, Linda read a Facebook post which indicated due to Covid-19, the facilities are temporarily closed until further notice. Batting cage reservations, concessions, registration fees and other means of income immediately stopped, jeopardizing the future of the facility and Wenatchee Youth Baseball. The post requested community support as Morris Field Ballpark/Wenatchee Youth Baseball Club only had enough funds to remain open until August under the current situation.

Linda Sasseen jumped into action and reached out to the other local State Farm agents. Collectively, the agents each donated $500 to provide a $3,000 total donation to the ball club and facility.

Linda said, “Morris Park has been around for years and we didn’t want to lose youth baseball in our community.” She added, “We all felt that youth sports is a great thing that needs to continue in our community.”

State Farm Agent John White said, "I have a few fond memories of Morris Little League Park. I go back about 50 plus years. I coached both of my sons teams over a period of about 10 years. During that time I was on the board. We were always hurting for funds to keep us going. An elderly gentleman lived in a small house next to the parking lot rent free for being the caretaker. One summer after the baseball season was over he went to Alaska for a month. Didn’t tell anyone he was going to be gone. Then the grass started dying. The irrigation system was a “Rube Goldberg” set up. The president and I did our best to get it working. But not very good.

My wife and I spent many hours at Morris Park supporting our sons. My wife loved baseball. She passed away 15 years ago … of all things Lou Gehrig’s Disease. I purchased a new flag pole in her memory a few years back. Nice plaque at the base of the pole honoring her."

Editor's Note: If your business wants to make a donation to WYB/Morris Park and arrange a photo shoot, contact NCW Media Managing Editor Gary Bégin: gary@ncwmedia.n

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