Still Pitching After All These Years

Fifty years ago. 1950. The first pitch of the Little League in Westfield.

Last Saturday. 2000. The first pitch of the second fifty years. And two of the founders were on hand to throw out pitches. Andy Jay and Fran Ouimet. Both 80-something. Westfield can be very proud of these octogenarians.

Hats off, as well, to the Kiwanis Club, which got involved half a decade ago, at Andy's and Fran's insistence, and whose members are still active today.

From just six teams to 65 teams and 1,000 kids. (Including, of course, girls--and the girls wearing the bright yellow "State Representative Cele Hahn" team shirts.) That's success. And, another reason to be proud of Westfield.

People, of course, have made the difference. The founders, of course. And players. But all the coaches and parents and umpires and team sponsors who have helped over the years.

Thank you to the mayor, city councilors, senator, bands, veterans, Shriners, antique cars and others who joined the long parade, from Mestek to Cross Street Playground for the Little League Parade's 50th Golden Anniversary march.

It was, indeed, a day to celebrate "Fifty Years of Excellence."

Two other people are to be commended-Sister Jane Morrissey and Westfield's own Al Ferst, both honored this week at the 85th Pynchon Awards Dinner.

Both have had major impact on many people.

Sister Jane, through her work responding to the needs of the day--as author of a book of oral history stories from Guatemala, member of Gray House, working for and with the Springfield Police and at the former York Street jail, as a civil rights protester, and president of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Al Ferst for his philanthropy, the lasting memorials he and his late wife, Amelia, have provided for Westfield. The Boys Club, the Interfaith Chapel at Westfield State, St. John's Lutheran Church, the new Amelia Ferst Hockey Arena, the Womans Club, Samaritan Inn-all have benefited from the Fersts' generosity.

And, of course, we honored Patti Andras, longtime activist and volunteer in Westfield, at the annual Red Cross awards dinner just a week ago. She is wife, mother, banker, and volunteer for at least 28 community organizations. And a lot of fun. Aside to Patti: I'm proud to call you a friend.

People. The members of the Sportsmans Club, which hosted its annual Fishing Derby this week, giving kids a taste of wholesome outdoor recreation.

Two new Eagle Scouts at St. Mary's, honored last Saturday. Michael Madru and Anthony Neffinger. As my husband said, I never met an Eagle Scout that wasn't impressive.

Michael Galat, store manager, and the D'Amour family, celebrating the Grand Opening of the $7.2-million, 55,000 square foot, expansion of the Big Y on Broad at Silver. Believe it or not, the store has been there 35 years! Check out the play area for little kids.

If you're calling my office for constituent services, you'll probably talk with Tim, or Carla. Tim Cheever, Westfield High Class of 1993, Holy Cross Class of 1997. Two years on my staff. Carla Moran, Brookline High 1990, University of New Hampshire 1993, UMass/Boston Women in Politics and Government, 1996. Five years on my staff. Good people. To say the least.

I bet you know some good people, too. Call them up today and say, I'm proud of you.

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