Knights dedicate new ADA baseball field named for Blessed Michael J. McGivney

On Saturday, June 15, the Knights of Columbus proudly oversaw the blessing and naming of the brand-new Blessed Michael J. McGivney Field — an ADA-compliant, fully accessible baseball field for the Clinton Valley Little League Challenger Division Senior League. (Detroit Catholic | Gabriella Patti)

McGivney Field in Neil Reid Park will be used by the Clinton Valley Little League Challenger Division Senior League

CLINTON TOWNSHIP The weather was perfect Saturday, June 15, as the Knights of Columbus proudly oversaw the blessing and naming of the brand new Blessed Michael J. McGivney Field — an ADA-compliant, fully accessible baseball field for the Clinton Valley Little League Challenger Division Senior League.

Forty-two Knights of Columbus councils from across Metro Detroit raised more than $62,000 as part of the Special Olympics Initiative to build a field in Neil Reid Park named for the Knights' founder.

Ken Dumais, a member of Council 13950 of St. Mary of the Hills Parish in Rochester Hills, oversaw the initiative, which has been in the works since 2019. In 2006, Dumais began a partnership with the league to raise funds to build its first field, which continues to be used by the younger members of the league and is located next to McGivney Field.

Before the dedication, Dumais proudly watched as the Clinton Valley Little League’s senior teams — the Tigers and the Yankees — played their first game on the field.

“I saw them playing on the field, and there was a moment when I was walking by, and some athlete was up to bat, and I hear a smack, and I followed that ball, and it went over the fence in the brand new field,” Dumais enthused. “This was a home run in our brand new field. To see something like that on the day that we named the field and to do it on Father’s Day weekend, I am going to remember that weekend for a long, long time.”

Ken Dumais, member of Council No. 13950 St. Mary of the Hills, oversaw the initiative, which has been in the works since 2019. In 2006, Dumais began a partnership with the league to raise funds to build its first field, which continues to be used by the younger members of the league and is located next to McGivney Field.
Ken Dumais, member of Council No. 13950 St. Mary of the Hills, oversaw the initiative, which has been in the works since 2019. In 2006, Dumais began a partnership with the league to raise funds to build its first field, which continues to be used by the younger members of the league and is located next to McGivney Field.

Marilyn Wittstock, the league's vice president, said the field will be a blessing for the nearly 170 league children and adults.

The ADA-compliant field features larger dugouts to accommodate wheelchairs and has rubberized base paths that make is easier for wheelchairs and walkers to maneuver around, Wittstock said.

“We wanted to keep it much like a real baseball field," Wittstock told Detroit Catholic. "We hope it will raise awareness (for the league), because even after 31 years of doing this, there are still people who don’t know that we are here.”

During the dedication ceremony, the Knights of Columbus' fourth-degree color guard led members onto the field alongside league players, Clinton Township representatives, and members of the Special Olympics.

From the first base line, Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Fisher was joined by Fr. Stanley Ulman from St. Mary of the Hills and Fr. Christopher Muer of St. Peter Parish in Mount Clemens for a prayer of dedication and blessing over the field, sprinkling the diamond with holy water. Senior league players completed the inauguration by throwing pitches.

Dumais, who served as master of ceremonies, said the dedication was an example of the Knights continuing to renew their dedication to supporting individuals with special needs.

“The Knights of Columbus stand before you again to promise that we support your dream of providing this baseball field to your senior league and its athletes,” Dumais said. “We care, and we are here because we treasure and admire your tenacity to persevere. Today, we have no doubt that you, as senior athletes, will be a guiding light for those young athletes on the other field.”

Additional words of gratitude were spoken from the pitcher's mound by Wittstock, Robbie Waclawski, director of civic partnership and state sponsorship for Special Olympics of Michigan, and Knights of Columbus state secretary-elect Charles McCuen.

McCuen congratulated the councils who made “the field of dreams possible.”

“This is quite a vision that began with a humble parish priest who started this organization from a church basement in 1882, and here it is, 165 years later, grown to 2 million members,” McCuen said of the worldwide Knights of Columbus. “This is quite an achievement; these councils that are here presenting today are the heart and soul of our order. Everything that gets done is by these men who make it their passion to get out, raise funds, support communities and churches and make things like this possible. So my hat is off to you guys.”

More photos



Share:
Print


AOD-IAM: July Article Bottom
Menu
Home
Subscribe
Search