by Tricia Mason
At the town agricultural park in Port Hope two revitalized ball diamonds where dedicated to three deserving members of the community.
At eleven in the morning with the weather looking dangerously dark parks and recreation director Jim McCormack introduced Kim Rudd, local MPP to the crowd of over thirty. Rudd greeted everyone on behalf of the federal government. She went onto explain how the Canada 150 grants were created to improve communities such as Port Hope. The municipality gained six of those grants. The grant that allowed improvements on the two ball diamonds was for $23 000.00. Rudd went onto to explain the point of making these grants a possibility was to show pride in communities around Ontario and in the case specifically within the sports community.
From there Mayor Bob Sanderson walked up to the podium and thanked everyone involved. He expressed his hope to make things better for hope and to show it is “age friendly for all and we hope to make the quality of life that much better.” It was proved that Port Hope is open to all ages as about ten children of all ages were sitting and enjoying the dedication with their families. Mayor Sanderson ended his speech with a final thank you to the parks and recreation department and council.
Councillor Jeff Lees, chair of parks, recreation, and culture was next up to the podium. With more thanks he introduced Ted Watts sr and Gord and Hazel Isaac as those being dedicated. Announcing that the families will be accepting the honour in their place as they have passed. Family members from as far as British Columbia had attended the dedication. They were all community leaders and had long standing contributions in not only the ball diamonds but the rest of the municipality.
Terry Watts, youngest son of Ted Sr spoke on behalf of his father. He remembered being a young player and having his dad park right behind the ball diamond so his mother could sit and watch as well, even if that meant a few dings from flying baseballs. He thanked those who made the revitalization possible.
“The upgrades look so great that I might even come out of retirement.” He said raising a few chuckles. He thanked all the support, congratulated the Isaac family, but most importantly talked about how important the work all the honourees put into the diamonds.
“If you keep your kids in sports you keep them out of trouble.” Watts said quoting his father.
Craig Stevenson represented the Isaac family. Sharing memories of the grandparents who owned the park. Reminiscing of the honourees that have since passed brought up some happy and sad tears in the audience as family and friends wiped their eyes.
“They had the keys to everything! It was their park!” Stevenson said as he went on to tell stories when he was a young boy. He wrapped up his speech by thanking his grandparents for everything they did and thanking those who made the dedication possible.
Jim McCormack came back for a final thanks and lead everyone over to the unveiling of both signs. Clapping and cheering broke out after each sign was shown to all.
Due to weather conditions instead of a baseball game played in honour everyone was headed back to the parks rec building where there would be food a drinks for all. Everyone shared memories of both Watts and Isaac.
The people that came together were more family than anything else. This event showed the true meaning of community.