New York State Senator Mario R. Mattera (2nd Senate District) and Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim were thrilled by the turnout of their first Field of Dreams baseball and softball clinic for girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 18. The free fun event was organized in conjunction with local school coaches and former Major League Baseball players from the Mets, Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, Tigers, Dodgers, Pirates, Blue Jays, Expos, Brewers and Phillies.
The clinic was held at Daniel J. Flynn Memorial Park in Commack this past Sunday with lunch provided to all the families and guests by Panico’s Community Market and Heros 4 Our Heroes.
The event featured instruction from former Major League Baseball players including Frank Catalanotto, Art Shamsky, Oreste Marrero, John Doherty, Sal Agostinelli, Frank Tepedino, Fred Cambria, Adam Greenberg, Charles Galiano, Rick Schmidt, Keith Osik and Don DeMola.
The softball program of the event was organized by former Hofstra Softball Head Coach Bill Edwards who provided instruction along with his daughter Shari, a former Division I athlete, and volunteers from the area.
And Supervisor Wehrheim and Senator Mattera sent a special thank you to Town of Smithtown Superintendent of Recreation Tom McCaffrey for all his support and effort to help coordinate this fun event.
All the instructors provided tips and instruction to the young players at various stations on the four fields.
Major League Baseball provided the participants with Rawlings baseballs and a photo booth provided by New York Life created a complimentary baseball card for each participant.
“It was great to partner with the Town of Smithtown, Major League Baseball, Heros 4 Our Heroes, and the entire team that put together this wonderful event. I hope that every player who participated had a great time and learned some very valuable skills and lessons. This was a great day for our community to enjoy the great sports of baseball and softball and I thank everyone who made it such a success,” stated Senator Mattera.
“There is really nothing more gratifying as an elected official, than to witness hundreds of families enjoying such a memorable experience. This event could not be possible without the incredible support and partnership with Senator Mario Mattera and his team, Heros 4 Our Heroes, the work of our dedicated Parks Department, Recreation, Public Safety, and our spectacular volunteers from the Youth Bureau. I also would like to thank Panico’s Market for cooking for over 1,000 people, Nesconset Fire Department and printer houses Capital Graphics and Trend it Branding, all who went above and beyond to make Sunday special. Finally, thank you to the inspiring Coaches, former MLB stars, and our military and Veterans organizations who brought forth an unforgettable day for so many local families,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.
The event also honored the great efforts of Heros 4 Our Heroes who have provided free meals to first responders, firefighters, policemen, health care heroes and veterans since September 11th. The organization also distributes turkey dinners on Thanksgiving and served special dinners for Christmas at the VA Medical Center.
“The inspiring work by the Panico family and all the volunteers of Heros 4 Our Heroes is truly appreciated and our community is fortunate to have them in our Town. They were there following the terror attacks of 9/11 and have never stopped bringing joy to the heroes who often go unsung. Thank you to Donato Jr. and Donato Sr. for always being there,” added Senator Mattera.
Any resident who would like to support the amazing work of Heros 4 Our Heroes should visit www.heros4ourheroes.org and click on the Field of Heroes link on the home page.