2017 WHS graduates Jaden Krueger, Mike Alessandra, Eric Shields, and Jared Christensen helped lead Puerto Vallarta to a men's softball championship
Wethersfield High School’s baseball team won a state championship in June and earlier this month a group of recent alums captured a town softball title in dramatic fashion.
2017 graduates Mike Alessandra and Jaden Krueger had an idea to form a team days before the town’s summer softball season was set to begin.
“Mike asked me if we should start a softball team,” recalled Krueger, who was the team’s pitcher, “He started a group chat with a bunch of our friends and it started from there.”
Little did they know at the time that that last-minute decision would result in a championship, and possibly the beginning of a softball dynasty.
“We found out about the league two weeks before it started so we had to call random people and random sponsors,” added Alessandra.
Enough friends responded and Puerto Vallarta sponsored a team that would go on to make history as the first softball squad in ten years to win a championship during their inaugural season in Wethersfield.
“I had never won a championship in anything before so it’s nice to finally win one with these guys because I’ve played with them for a long time,” said Jared Christensen, who is attending UConn as a business major, “There was a little bit of a transition but it was just like old times and brought back some memories.”
At first it didn’t look good as the team stumbled out of the gate, losing five of their first six games including a 24-9 shellacking at the hands of the Chicken Cutlets in the first game of the season.
“We were getting blow out by everyone. I was debating why am I even doing this? I could be playing Twilight Baseball or I could be working out to play in college. I didn’t really know what I was doing but it all worked out,” stated Krueger.
After the slow start, the upstart group won nine of their final 15 regular season games and entered the playoffs brimming with confidence.
“We always knew we could be good when we had our best guys, but being young and having summer jobs some of us couldn’t show up to some games,” recalled Alessandra, “But when it came towards the end of the season all of our more consistent players started showing up every game and we knew that no one was going to beat us at the end of the day.”
Making the transitioning from baseball to softball and the lack of experience in the league was a challenge, but as the season aged the team’s youthful energy ended up being their best asset.
“I think their experience helped them but our athleticism helped us more, especially in the outfield because Eric [Shields] and Ryan Skelly could really run and catch balls for us and they couldn’t get to them. It was good that we had young guys,” stated Christensen.
“Our biggest advantage is that we are faster than everyone else. Numerous times Ryan and me turned singles into doubles and triples sometimes. We can beat out infield hits when a bunch of the older guys are easy outs with those hits. It definitely helped us produce more runs and get more guys on base,” added Shields, who had experience playing intermural softball at Western New England University.
Skelly was the only player on the team that was also part of the high school’s championship team, which defeated Windsor 16-4 to secure the Class L title in the spring. He turned 18 shortly before the softball season started, making him eligible.
By the time the championship series rolled around the team was clicking on all cylinders, winning their first four postseason games and advancing to the championship series where they would face a CNG team that they had recently defeated.
“Late in the regular season we crushed the team that we eventually beat in the championship game. I knew that we had a pretty good shot because when we all play well together we were a pretty good team,” stated Christensen.
Alessandro, Krueger, and team manager Jason Dignoti (another WHS alum) had pieced together a perfect lineup that was peaking at the right time.
“We just wanted to show everyone that we can go out here and play and we don’t have to practice like these other teams that practice three times a week. We showed up and took what we had learned these past 13 years and went out and played,” said Alessandra, who is also a youth football coach in the summer and will attend CCSU in the fall.
“Everything just started to click at the right time,” added Krueger, who also attends CCSU, “The whole season we didn’t know where everyone fit best or what position guys should play, but right before the playoffs everything started to click and we started to figure out where everyone fit best.”
The team split the first two games of their best-of-three championship series, leaving their fate in a do-or-die game three.
The series clincher did not disappoint and just like the regular season Puerto Vallarta fell behind early but rallied for a 20-19 extra-innings thriller to seal the championship.
It was another epic turnaround for a group of young athletes that couldn’t find their identity early but found ways to persevere through the struggles.
Alessandra, Krueger, Christensen, and Shields built the foundation and the rest helped construct a championship.
The supporting cast included Skelly, Mike Spence, Patrick ‘PMac’ Macgillvary, John DellaFera, Jared Hill, Brian Rodriguez, and Dylan DellaFera.
“It was all Wethersfield alum basically, but most of them beside us and Skelly hadn’t played baseball since they were younger or ever,” said Krueger, “For us it was a lot easier but for other guys on the team that hadn’t played since they were young it was a transition because they really hadn’t touched a bat since they were ten years old. It was just about them getting used to it because a lot of people didn’t know how to play.”
“We had a pretty good run in high school baseball and it’s nice to come back with some of the same guys and win it,” added Shields, an Engineering major at WNEU, “Even in little league I finished in the semifinals every year so to finally come back and finally win with the guys I’ve been playing with for years felt really good, especially because we were the new team and nobody thought we were going to win.”
Next season the team will move up the ranks as they look to repeat with the same core group of players returning and possibly some new talent joining their championship roster.
“We had players that hadn’t played ball their whole life. One kid was playing soccer his whole life and a bunch of football players that hadn’t played baseball since little league,” added Shields, “Now they’ve figured out their swing and I think we’ll be pretty good again next year.”
“I think we’ll move up to a higher league to play against better competition. It was good to get our name out there and the guys that we beat told us that we were the new boys on the block,” added Krueger.
Come next summer, the new boys on the block will be known as the new champions on the block.
Joe Loguidice of Old Lyme took home the Vern A. Hunter Vintage Bike Award for his 1958 Lombretta TV 175 Series 1
Last Wednesday Main Street in Middletown was jam-packed with the latest and greatest in two-wheeled innovations for the 13th annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania.
Middletown has been hosting the state’s premier motorcycle event since 2006 and this year’s festivities were bigger and better than ever.
“This is the event. I’ve heard it described as the one-day Laconia,” said Beverly Goslin, who is the president of the Wandering Evangelists, “We do other events too but we’re a Christian motorcycle group so this is the big one.”
Goslin was on hand as the regional representative for the Christian Motorcyclists Association, which is a non-profit evangelistic outreach to the motorcycling community. The association is based out of Arkansas, but they have division all over the country and even internationally.
“The motorcycle group is largely an unchurched group,” added Goslin, “They are very aware that if you hit a rock, a manhole cover, a little bit of sand or leaves, that you can go down real fast and can get seriously hurt of dead. So we really want them to know about Jesus, because time is short.”
The CMA was one of the many vendors that lined both sides of the street, spreading positive messages and selling everything from riding gear to foods.
Fried dough is always a favorite at the event and the aroma of carnival foods wafted through the air as the sound of engines rang out into the perfectly clear July sky.
In the middle of all of the excitement were Ken Kaplan and Christie Staiger, who were promoting the grand opening of the New England Motorcycle Museum, opening this week at 200 West Main Street in Rockville.
“Ken has spent the last seven years working on restoring the mill and now it’s finally going to be open to the public. We’re having out first event on Saturday, August 25th” said Staiger, referring to the transformation of the 200 year old Hockanum Mill in Rockville, “There’s all different eras, classifications, makes and models. There’s something for every enthusiast. It’s just breathtaking to see the mill.”
Eventually there will be a restaurant and bar at the remodeled facility and the Motorcycle Mania was the perfect place to promote their new venture.
“We’ve been letting everyone here know about it,” added Staiger, “We need another destination to bring families. It’s going to be amazing.”
Music is always a big part of the mania and this year was no exception as the Patrones again highlighted the event with their high-energy rock & roll covers and soulful sound. A group of young, talented musicians also played in front of the Middlesex Music Academy.
Folksy, rhythmic rockers Christopher Tino and Brian Malone drew a big crowd outside of The Pickle Stand. The two, known as Tino Malone, play at various local venues and the duo is off to entertain at the Westfield River Brewing Company in Southwick, Ma on August 24.
All of the vendors and musicians were the cherry of top of the main show, which were the thousands of bikes and other motorized creations on hand.
Awards were given out for Best in Show and one of winners was Joe Loguidice, who took home the Vern A. Hunter Vintage Bike Award for his 1958 Lombretta TV 175 Series 1.
“It’s been in my family for over 30 years and two years ago I decided that I wanted to redo it. I like working on stuff and making it look pretty so I decided to take it out of the shed and get to work on it,” Loguidice said of his now fully restored classic, “They stopped making them and totally changed the engine and transmission, which makes this model very rare. It was my grandfathers, he bought it years ago off the Shriners. They used to ride it in their parade.”
The vintage, baby blue beauty was a big attraction at the show and is a crowd pleaser wherever Loguidice takes it.
“People like it, especially the old Italians down at the beach where I live,” added Loguidice, who is from Old Lyme, “They love it. It’s Italian, I’m Italian, it’s an Italian thing.”
All told more than 7,000 bikes and 12,500 spectators visited the largest one day summer motorcycle event in New England, which is presented by Hunter's Ambulance and Hunter Limousines in Memory of Dan Hunter, a Founding Sponsor of Middletown Motorcycle Mania.
All of the proceeds from the event benefitted Middletown Youth Programs, including the Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program, Middletown Recreation, and the Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program.
Chamber President Larry McHugh noted, “The 13th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania was a huge success. I want to thank our sponsors, our vendors, City of Middletown personnel, especially the police, fire, public works, Mayor Drew, The Common Council and everyone who came out to support the event. Finally, I want to express my sincere appreciation to Event Chairman Rich Greco and our over 100 volunteers for their unbelievable support of Motorcycle Mania. This event gets bigger every year, and we are proud that its proceeds go to support Middletown youth programs. We are already looking forward to next year.”
2018 Awards Winners
First six awards were presented by Hunter's Ambulance and Hunter Limousines
Vern A. Hunter Vintage Bike Award: Joe Loguidice of Old Lyme (1958 Lombretta TV 175 Series 1)
Best Vintage American Bike Award: Albert Sylvester of Southington (1977 Harley Davidson Café Racer)
Best Vintage British Bike Award: Joe Crescimanno of Middletown (1978 Triumph Bonneville 750)
Best Vintage European Bike Award: Maine Smith of Cheshire (1936 BMW R12)
Best Vintage Japanese Bike Award: Dave Block of Plymouth (1982 Honda CBX)
Dan M. Hunter "Functionality with Style" Award: Mike Serio of Madison (2010 Harley Davison Soft Tail Deluxe)
The Haymond Law Award, presented by Haymond Law Office: Tony Schiavone of Middletown (2007 Harley Davidson Ultra)
Liberty’s Choice Award, presented by Liberty Bank: Matt H of Meriden (2009 Honda CBR1000RR)
Dimitri Moore Memorial Award, presented by Eli Cannon’s: Gary Roegiers of Middletown (2009 Custom Prostreet)
C. Oscar Hedström Award, presented by Brookfield Indian Motorcycle: Joseph Chehy of Warwick, Rhode Island (2014 Indian Vintage)
The Gengras Elite Award, presented by Gengras Motorcycles: Bob Vincent of Middletown (1997 Harley Davidson Heritage Springer FLSTS)
The DBD Farkle Award, presented by Downtown Business District: John LaRosa of Middletown (2005 Harley Softail)
Indian Motorcycle of Springfield Choice Award, presented by Indian Motorcycle of Springfield: Joe Adamowicz of Cromwell (1962 Harley Davidson PanHead)
All-American Bike Award, presented by Bank of America: Kevin Fitzgerald of South Bridge Massachusetts (2000 Harley Davidson 1200 XLH Sportster)
The Flood Choice Award, presented by The Flood Law Firm: Jay Flannigan of Durham (2005 Harley Heritage)
MedExpress Choice Award, presented by MedExpress Urgent Care: Scott Santor of Spencer, Massachusetts (2011 Hand Built Custom Chopper)
Mayor’s Choice Award, presented by Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew: Ed Bartolotta of Cromwell (2012 Arlen Ness)
(Left) Even our four-legged friends, like Jemma, dressed up for the 13th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania
(Right) Christopher Tino and Brian Malone, known as Tino Malone, entertained crowds outside of The Pickle Stand on Main Street
A consumer and her dog stand outside of Main Street Creamery & Cafe in Wethersfield. The two stopped in to get an ice cream after a grueling workout at Mission Fitness in Glastonbury
Ice Cream has become the unofficial food of summer ever since Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert King released their smash hit Ice Cream (I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream) in 1927. So this week we take a break from our normal fitness series to replenish some of the calories that we’ve lost, as we try to settle the great ice cream debate. Here’s our cold take of the top 10 local creameries in the area and what people are saying about them. The list below is in alphabetical order, so ranking them from 1 to 10 is up to you. Enjoy.
Cromwell Creamery: 2 Willowbrook Rd, Cromwell
Family-owned establishment that has been in the delicious diary business for over 40 years. Proudly uses real milk fat to make a premium ice cream and other frozen desserts, including soft served. Large selections of flavors, including a variety of special flavors depending on the season. Cute venue with a walk-up window and welcoming staff. A must visit for any chilly confection connoisseur.
What people are saying…“This ice cream is the real deal. Expect a crowd if it's a nice evening. If you are trying to decide between Cromwell Creamery or the Friendly's across the street, this would definitely be my preference of the two - shop & eat local! It is cash only, so don't forget to check your wallet before heading out.” -Victoria E, Cromwell
Froyo World: 1107 Silas Deane Hwy, Wethersfield
One of the first frozen yogurt places to open locally and the self-proclaimed #1 frozen yogurt in New England and Puerto Rico, according to their website. Nice blend of frozen yogurt and sorbet flavors, as well as a vast variety of toppings. Perfect place to go with the kids because of the possibilities are endless. Also great for a date, because they’re open late.
What people are saying…“Kids love these frozen yogurt places because they get to assert their independence and autonomy by piling an assortment of discordant flavors into a cup. Mine is no exception. I get the privilege of paying for this frozen soup by the ounce. These places are all the same. Decent variety of frozen yogurt flavors, too many candy toppings and not enough fruit and pleasant enough staff.” –Ashika B, Hartford
Kiwi Spoon: 397 Cromwell Avenue #5, Rocky Hill
Frozen yogurt shop with a twist, offering acai bowls and a juice bar with smoothies. Lots of options to choose from and the do-it-yourself mix-and-match is a hit for all ages, especially kids. The inside has a cool vibe with appealing colors and there is plenty of outside seating as well. Great name, location, and atmosphere.
What people are saying…“Best Froyo this side of the Mississippi! Well I don't know if that is geographically correct but I do know it’s GOOD! The only place I know that has a scoop for the cookie dough (yes not the little dry bits but actually scoopable cookie dough!) This place is great, and the prices are reasonable for froyo, on Tuesdays they have $7 all you can fill! If you are ever in the Rocky Hill area don't hesitate to try it out, it’s great stuff! ” –Samantha V, Hartford
Main Street Creamery and Café: 271 Main St, Wethersfield
Fixture of Old Wethersfield with over 50 flavors of ice cream made locally, using many regional ingedients. Soft-serve, sorbet, non-dairy, vegan, and gluten-free options available as well, and coffee and espresso made to order. Outdoor seating is available and the curb appeal is second to none. Hard to beat, especially in the heat.
What people are saying…“This is a great shop for ice cream lovers of all ages. Walking toward the cases, I spied; ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cakes, 6 or 7 cone choices, hard ice cream, soft serve & toppings galore! I say this was the creamiest ice cream that I have ever had. There are other food and candy options, if you're not a fan of ice cream. Tip: There is an ATM, if you don't have a check or cash on you.” –Janice M, Middletown
Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream: 3145 Berlin Turnpike, Newington
A tradition unlike any other, serving homemade ice cream in Connecticut for over 100 years. All of the charm of a traditional ice cream shop with the freshest in local ingredients and the décor to match the charm. Specialize in seasonal flavors with one of the friendliest staffs around. A favorite local hangout with a tradition unlike any other.
What people are saying…“This place is great! It's been around forever, the ice cream is homemade, the medium is the size of larges at some other places and there are soooooo many flavors! The employees are helpful and will let you sample several flavors until you make up your mind. There's some seating indoors as well as outdoors to fit whichever mood you're in. You can even get a four scoop sundae or cup of ice cream! They have an Almond Joy flavor and Coffee Oreo I love, and I especially love Roasty Toasty Coconut. Mmm, but the Graham Central Station is pretty amazing too. Then they have flavors like peach or banana, made with real fruit! If you've never been here, you're missing out!” –Tiffany G, Newington
Scoops and Sprinkles Ice Cream Shop: 2229 Silas Deane Hwy, Rocky Hill
This gem on the Silas Deane offers a little of everything. Plenty of ice cream flavors and other creative creamy specialty drinks, along with candies, chocolates, baked goods and more. Walk-up window with outside seating and plenty of room in the interior. Local hot spot with endless frozen possibilities.
What people are saying…“Great ice cream, great service and very friendly family oriented place. Wouldn’t go anywhere else.” -Eric M, Rocky Hill
“One word - Yum!!! Popped in late night for a sundae - left with a happy belly. There's a bunch of flavors to choose from [which can make it tricky] so if you always get the same thing, try something new! Throw some toppings on there, get crafty with it. It hit the spot.” –Michelle R, Rocky Hill
Stew Leonard’s: 3475 Berlin Turnpike, Newington
Not quite the inventory of the other ice cream shops, but they make up for it with amazingly creamy concoctions. 40-year tradition of serving tasty soft serve on the go, with a handful of toppings and cone options. A shopping trip to Stew’s wouldn’t be complete without a stop at their dairy bar. Moo is the word at Stew’s.
What people are saying…“Going to Stew Leonard’s is an event and I like atmosphere when you go to the ice cream section. I’m not a big ice cream fan but for some reason when I go to Stew Leonard’s I seem to stop off there. I think their Sundaes are great, and as far as local ice creams go Stew Leonard’s is one of, if not the best.” –Cody B, New Hartford
sweetFrog: 34 Shunpike Road #28, Cromwell
Bright colors and super clean environment make for both a fun and worry-free experience. Expect regular visits from the companies’ loveable mascots, Scoop and Cookie, and changing flavors to fit the season. Fun fact…The F.R.O.G. in sweetFrog stands for Fully Rely On God.
What people are saying…“Seriously how can you not be satisfied with something you make yourself and get exactly what you want. The toppings are always full and the place is clean. Seeing the waffle cones as an option was a reminiscent throw back for me to when there was a TCBY only a few doors down from here.” Edward L, Berlin
Vecchitto's Italian Ice: 323 deKoven Drive, Middletown
Middletown landmark that dates back to 1930 and the only place on the list that specializes in Italian ice. Traditional recipes are still used and the place is packed, especially on weekends. Also serving gelato, Vecchitto’s is only seasonal and closes in September so there’s no time to waste.
What people are saying…“Always fresh, never crunchy ice. The people are always super friendly. Treat yourself to Almond flavor. It's one of the few places in the country that sells it! An absolute summer treat!” –Rachel S, Denver (CO)
0degree: 312 Main St, Middletown
Newest ice cream craze has reach Middletown. Thai ice cream is an interactive way to watch decorative ice cream being made in a funky, new wave setting. Preset options make ordering very easy and then the show begins. Ice cream artists put on a personalized show with every order. A mixture of dessert and entertainment on Main Street, how do you go wrong?
What people are saying…“A unique, interesting way to get your ice cream fix! I've never had Thai ice cream prior to visiting 0degree, so it was a completely new experience for me. Basically, you walk in, tell them what you want from the menu board, they put the liquid dairy mixture on a frozen surface, then they mix it around until it can be scraped off into cool ice cream rolls (no pun intended). After, you get to put more toppings on and dig in! It's not exactly cheap, but it's also not too expensive for what you get (freshly made ice cream right in front of your eyes to your specifications). The ice cream looks pretty, is fresh, and tastes great! If you're ever in the area, it's definitely worth a try. The only downside is that if there are a lot of people in the shop ordering ice cream, you're going to be waiting a while because the ice cream is made-to-order.” Ariel R, Middletown
Judy Keane, founder of the Keane Foundation, outside the Sports Center at 30 Greenfield Street in Wethersfield
With tragedy comes triumph.
There is no better example of this than the wonderful work of the Keane Foundation, which was formed in Wethersfield following the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
Shortly after that fateful day, Judy Keane started the foundation in honor of her late husband Richard Keane and two other Wethersfield residents, Jeffrey Bittner and David Winton, who perished in the World Trade Center attacks nearly 17 years ago.
“We started right away. Family and friends got together and we had a fundraiser that Christmas,” Keane said of the foundation’s first event in December 2001, which was called Carol for a Cause.
Keane’s vision was to raise enough money to open a fitness facility for local families to enjoy together.
“Dick always loved pickup games of basketball with his boys and there was no place to go. The gyms were busy all the time, so we thought a sports center would be a good idea to use donations and then we had to fundraise like crazy for a few years.”
In 2008 the 9/11 Memorial Sport Center opened in the same building that houses the Wethersfield Community Center, which is located at 30 Greenfield Street.
The building and its facilities also double as the town’s emergency center.
“We were considering doing a freestanding building but we had no idea where we were going to be able to do it and then about 2006 the town asked if we could consider doing this. The town and rec department were great and we had mayors and heads of town council that were very supportive,” Keane said of the renovation project, “There was an antiquated old gymnasium that had been an auditorium at one time. It needed a lot of work. This was our major project and we wanted a gym, and we ended up with a fitness room and a classroom in the back too.”
The wing of the community center that was renovated by the foundation houses a modernized instructional basketball court, a fully equipped fitness room with a shower, and a meeting room/leaning center with computer and wireless access.
There are also two pieces of steel recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Center, one is mounted on the back wall of the gymnasium and the other is outside the main entrance. A memorial is also encased on the wall in between the learning center and the gymnasium, showcasing pictures and other visual reminders.
Most of the kids that come through the center were born after 2001 and the memorial acts as a historical representation of that day and those involved in the recovery.
“We wanted the kids to remember or to know what happened that day and what happened soon afterwards,” said Keane, “We wanted to honor everyone and the firefighters as well.”
The foundation works in tandem with the town’s parks & recreation department, allowing access to the center and developing programs for all ages.
Mary Thibeault is one the Recreation Department supervisors, helping plan and implement the summer camps and the various programs that the town offers throughout the year.
The fall brochure with a detailed list of all of the programs will be the Rare Reminder on August 23.
“The brochure has everything the department offers, from swimming lesson to gymnastics to after school programs to fitness classes to the senior center programs. Every generation is covered,” said Thibeault.
Included in the programs are a variety of fitness classes, including yoga to accommodate any age.
“In our after school program we have Kids Yoga Adventures, it takes yoga and makes it a little more fun and not as disciplined as your typical adult yoga. We also have regular adult fitness yoga, and for the seniors there’s the very popular chair yoga. We get 40 people in here sometimes,” started Thibeault.
The chair yoga is one of the most popular programs and is sponsored by the Keane Foundation. It is one of the many programs, including the after school enrichment program, that are funded by the foundation.
Last fall the after school program enrolled over 900 kids.
“That’s our main focus,” Keane said of the after school program, which started at the community center but became so crowded that they moved it to the five elementary schools and the middle school to accommodate everyone, “This year I think we were close to $100,000.00 to the programs that we supported.”
In early June the foundation had their 17th annual 5k, which is a walk/run through Old Wethersfield. The town offers another road race coming in mid-October, the Mikey’s Place 5k.
Next up is the 9/11 Family Picnic, which will take place on Sunday, September 9 this year. The picnic is the foundation’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to the community and offers an opportunity to reflect on those we lost. This year will be the 17th anniversary and attendees are encouraged to bring their own food and picnic setup while enjoying the festivities.
“It’s short and sweet. The kids play and people visit with each other. It’s a nice day,” Keane said of the event, which will start at 5 pm and end at 7 pm, “We have a band called Prelude, they are really good. It’s a really easy evening for people.”
The foundation has made an impact both locally and statewide, recently winning the 2018 Distinguished Friends of Education Award, presented by the Connecticut Association of Schools. The award is given annually to an organization outside the field of education, which has made impactful contributions to public education at the local, state, regional or national level.
The prestigious award came as a total surprise to Keane.
“We were nominated for it by the superintended of schools, Sally Dastoli, and the principle of the middle school, Sue Czapala,” recalled Keane, “I had no knowledge of it at all until we got it. It was wonderful and it was really a great honor.”
All of the awards and recognition is because of the incredible growth of the foundation through their various fundraisers.
Keane said the major fundraiser every year is the Cove Side Carnival, which will take place October 12-14. The Friday to Sunday fall festival includes free parking and free admission, and will feature outrageous rides, delicious food, games, and an entertainment-filled adult beer garden.
Local high schoolers volunteer during the carnival and throughout the year, but the foundation is always looking for additional help for all of the activities they sponsor.
“On the website there’s a whole list of all of the things that we need volunteers for. People can actually sign up on the website and they will get reminders,” added Keane, “Believe it or not we still accept checks. Every so often out of the blue we’ll get a check from somebody that knew Dick or heard about what we are doing and wants to supports us.”
Volunteer opportunities can be found and donations can be made directly though keanefoundation.org or checks can be mailed to Keane Foundation, PO Box 290742, Wethersfield, CT 06129-0742.
The website has additional details of the upcoming events. There are also schedules for the foundation fundraisers and the sports center,
including the very popular Friday Night Hangouts for sixth and seventh graders.
Saturdays during the winter are reserved for little ones. Rocky Hill softball coach Tyler Catlin and Mike Rogers run an open gym for elementary school kids from early December into March.
What started as a way to honor of her late husband, has expanded into an award-winning foundation that is growing every year thanks to the generosity of Keane and others.
“There was time when I thought it was a futility to keep trying to get a building but then things started perking. We had great people on our board and had fabulous people of our building project, so it actually happened,” recalled Keane, “I never would have thought it would have continued.
Our goal was to build the building and I had always wanted the programs, and the programs now are the big focus. I want them to continue as long as possible.”
For even more information or to register for the variety of programs the town has to offer, visit wethersfieldct.com/recreation.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin