Norwalk hosts fundraiser, alumni this weekend

Mark Hazelwood • Apr 16, 2018 at 10:26 PM

NORWALK — Honoring the military and good baseball.

Sounds like a perfect afternoon on the diamond.

On Saturday, the Norwalk baseball program will again host a fundraiser game, this time titled “home of the brave” to honor veterans of the military.

The fundraiser will benefit the Huron County honor bus, designed for Huron County veterans to visit the war memorials in Washington D.C.

“We always want to keep it local, and the Wounded Warrior Project has always been in the back of my mind as a worthy cause,” Norwalk coach Wes Douglas said.

While that is a national charity, Douglas mentally reminded himself that NHS teacher Nate Whaley spearheads the honor bus trip each year.

Students from Norwalk accompany veterans and family members on the trip in order to provide mobility assistance and to share stories and history. 

The cost is $300 per person, with the goal that no veteran ever has to incur any expenses for the trip.

“All that money (from Saturday) will support that trip to D.C.,” Douglas said. “Our parents of players and the community is already stepping up for Saturday, with Domino’s donating pizza and Nobil’s doing what they do for program among several others.”

There will be three games played on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. as Mansfield Madison (4-5) and Clear Fork (5-3) make the trip North for the games. Norwalk (8-3) will play Madison in the 10 a.m. game, followed by Madison-Clear Fork at noon and Clear Fork vs. Norwalk at 2 p.m.

“It should be good baseball, those are three really good programs as far as I’m concerned,” Douglas said.

At 9:30 a.m., there will be a color guard presentation of the flags, and Douglas is hoping to get Norwalk police and fire chiefs, Mike Conney and John Soisson, to help raise the flag during the national anthem.

“My hope is we will get enough veterans to respond, and our players will escort a veteran out to the foul line during the national anthem,” Douglas said. “There will also be a balloon release, but in general we want to call some attention to all those serving or have served on our behalf.”

Among the fundraising items on Saturday will be Chinese basket and 50/50 raffles, rubber bracelets, and an open concession stand.

Early weather forecasts for Saturday indicate highs in the mid-50s with partly cloudy skies — a huge improvement over the past three weeks.

Douglas is hoping for carryover from Saturday’s game into Sunday, which will be the program’s second annual alumni game, slated for a 1 p.m. start at the high school.

Last year, 25 players returned to play in the game. 

“It was a nice success last year and we’re hoping to build on that and turn into an even nicer event,” Douglas said. “It’s important for out current players to understand community support and giving back. And then to also have them realize the people that played here before them had a lot of success, guys who are really proud to come back.”

Since 1972, the Norwalk program has more than 600 wins all-time, nine league championships, 18 sectional championships, two district titles — and two trips to the state semifinals.

This season, Norwalk is off to an 8-3 start and plays two key league games on Wednesday and Thursday vs. Columbian and at Bellevue.

“It’s a great opportunity to reunite former teammates and coaches, and see where our program is right now,” Douglas said.

If anyone is interested in attending either event or needs needs more information, Douglas can be reached at 419-706-9644.

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