A Waterloo based nonprofit organization brings a new twist to holiday lights. The youth baseball diamond in Slater, Iowa, is proudly sporting new, state-of-the-art electronic scoreboards donated by Build Our Ballpark. The organization is dedicated to improving the lives of youth by providing the opportunity to play baseball and softball on quality fields.
Created in 2008, Build Our Ballpark was the vision of Bob Hellman Sr., the founder and chairman of the board at Hellman, a marketing and advertising agency in Waterloo, Iowa. Although Hellman works with companies all over the county, the agency also has local ties to Story County Medical Center.
“Story Medical and Hellman have worked together since 2008,” said Samantha Boyd, Story Medical Communications Director. “We have built a close relationship with the Hellman team, and it’s very encouraging to see their founder’s generosity coming back to our community.”
An avid baseball enthusiast, Hellman used a teamwork approach to give back to his favorite game by helping build a showcase ballpark – Hellman Field – in his hometown. From that teamwork, Build Our Ballpark was born. The organization is committed to providing the assistance and rallying the support needed to build new ballparks and/or improve existing ballparks to ensure kids have a quality place to play. By promoting teamwork, strengthening character, building pride and teaching life skills, Build Our Ballpark is rebuilding passion in America’s pastime – one field at a time.
“Having a new scoreboard in Slater will continue to bring families to the ballpark,” said Jyl Wonnell, Story Medical Clinic – Slater’s physician assistant. “Organized sports play a vital role in the health of our youth, and having a quality ballpark contributes to the goal of keeping our kids healthy.”
Build Our Ballpark’s efforts in this past summer’s Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) funded the new scoreboards.
“RAGBRAI was the perfect opportunity for Build Our Ballpark to witness first hand how youth baseball and softball have been affected in the small communities of Iowa,” said Bob Hellman, Executive Director of Build Our Ballpark. “The team was able to gain some background, reach out to a few communities along the route, and enjoy some great Iowa hospitality."
Along the RAGBRAI route, Team Build Our Ballpark (BOB) made contact with several youth baseball organizations. The cyclists were able to witness both the passion and lack of funding behind some of Iowa’s youth baseball and softball programs. The towns of Brooklyn and Slater also used RAGBRAI to raise funds for a new scoreboard on their little league fields. As a gift, Team BOB announced that Build Our Ballpark would provide new electronic scoreboards for each. More than $16,000 from the RAGBRAI fundraising efforts was used.
For the past several months, Build Our Ballpark and the towns of Slater and Brooklyn, the other community receive a scoreboard, have been communicating on the logistics of the scoreboard donation. Iowa Direct Equipment installed the scoreboards – one at Slater Field in Slater, Iowa, and one at Community Field in Brooklyn, Iowa. Each scoreboard is unique to the town, and both proudly sport the Build Our Ballpark logo.
Team BOB was comprised of cyclists from across the United States. All were motivated by one passion, restoring youth baseball and softball. The team pedaled across Iowa, covering 454 miles in one week, while asking for monetary pledges of support from friends.
To date, Build Our Ballpark has created six superior little league baseball fields and is currently renovating eight more. To keep up to date with current projects, visit www.BuildOurBallpark.org. Stories from Team BOB’s RAGBRAI adventures can also be found on the organization’s website.
For 60 years, Story County Medical Center, Story Medical Clinics and Story Medical Senior Care have been the trusted providers of high-quality, local healthcare services for the residents of Story County. Their modern South Campus creates a healing environment that matches the personalized care and clinical expertise of its medical staff. Visit www.StoryMedical.orgfor more information.