Vokunteers work hard over Fourth of July
Longtime Madras resident Brad Holliday had a little extra something in his step in the days leading into the District 5 Little League all-star tournament held at Juniper Hills Park.
The excitement of the tournament arrival had Holliday eagerly devoting countless hours into prepping for nearly 1,000 players and coaches. He was working like he was 20 years of age - lifting, bending and moving as if nothing could slow him down.
"I've really enjoyed it, and it's been therapeutic in a way," Holliday said as he installed bathroom doors that he had taken home to paint to cover up graffiti two days before the tournament started. "This is our one chance in over 10 years to show people how nice Madras can be as the host of all-stars. We've had tremendous help from the city and the county through all of this. We just wanted to make this a special event to where people will come back."
By the time the tournament concluded late last week, however, Holliday didn't have near the bounce in his step as he did in the days leading into the action. It didn't stop him from making sure the fields were prepared, but the 47-year-old looked spent, and needed a vacation from the Fourth of July holiday.
"Guys like Dave Wilson, Mike Beeler and Ervey Dominguez have stepped up and made things happen," Holliday said. "It's just been addicting, but this isn't about me. I did this because I love it, and my daughter (Hannah) has been right here with me most of the time, and that time has been tremendous."
Holliday played an instrumental role in helping prepare the fields prior to the tournament and during the tournament as well. He was able to find donated netting and installed it above the Juniper Hills Park baseball fields to protect fans from foul balls. He spent hundreds of hours grooming the field and did all of this while also coaching the Jefferson County Little League Majors squad.
"Brad is the reason the baseball fields look like they do," said JCLL president Julie Mitchell prior to the start of the tournament. "Jason Thomas and Wayne Fessler headed up the softball side of things and Brad took the lead with the baseball fields. They all put in so much time and the fields look immaculate."
Beeler was one of the coaches for the JCLL Juniors baseball team, but he also oversees the Jefferson County Justice work crews, who installed fences for the Juniors baseball tournament and removed sod on fields to make them legal.
"So many people and organizations came together to make this all happen," Holliday said.
Thomas, like Mitchell and her husband Lance, and Holliday, were several community members that began volunteering daily during the tournament around 6 a.m. and didn't stop until the action ended around 8 p.m. each day.
"We had a lot of volunteers that made our tournament happen, and had some real key figures like Brad and Jason who really put in time prior to the tournament to make it look fantastic," said JCLL treasurer Heather Buck.
By the time the later part of the Juniors baseball tournament rolled around, Madras High School head baseball coach Adam Randall looked as if he had spent about 60 consecutive hours in a tanning bed. He looked drained, tired and it was obvious the long week had taken its toll.
"It's not work if you love it," Randall said of volunteering. "I think what you saw from most of the volunteers is that they love baseball or softball, their community and its youth, so it was easy to go out and help."
Randall put members of the MHS baseball program to work throughout the tournament. His program was primarily in charge of prepping fields at Juniper Hills Park for the Minors, 10-11-year-olds and Majors baseball tournaments, and at MHS for the Juniors tournament.
"I figured we put in about 600 man hours," Randall said. "At first the kids were reluctant to be out here during these nice summer days, but once they starting watching the games, our boys picked teams they liked and rooted for them."
When it was all said and done, all who volunteered appeared exhausted from the 10-day tournament, but satisfied with their results.
"There are so many people to mention, but really this was a community effort," Julie Mitchell said. "So many people have come up to me and said what a great tournament we had in Madras. I think it was fantastic for the community, the kids and it was all done because of our wonderful volunteers."