(EDITOR'S NOTE: Lycoming County United Way is proud to serve the community we call home. Through this column, which will be published on the third Sunday of each month, the organization wishes to bring to light the many definitions of the word "community.")
Perhaps nowhere in the world this week are team accomplishments recognized and celebrated more than what is happening right here in our backyard as the 75th anniversary of the Little League Baseball World Series unfolds at South Williamsport's Volunteer and Lamade stadiums.
The 16 best Little League Baseball teams in the world arrived in town last week and, beginning with Wednesday's Grand Slam Parade, their every move has been watched and applauded.
While the Little Leaguers play the game with skill and proficiency, it is their teamwork that has carried them all through the extensive tournament trail that has led them here. By definition, teamwork is achieved by a group working tighter for a common purpose.
Later this month, on Aug. 31, a different kind of a team completing its 21st season will be recognized by Lycoming County United Way for its community spirit in raising funds to support local human service programs.
Formed in 1994 through the efforts of the Williamsport Crosscutters and United Way, the sponsors comprising the Lycoming County United Way Home Run Team have combined to raise more than $140,000 through the prowess of Crosscutters home runs over the year.
"The concept is pretty simple," explained Scott N. Lowery, LCUW executive director. "We approached Gabe (Crosscutters vice president of marketing and public relations Gabe Sinicropi Jr.) when the team relocated to Williamsport for the 1994 season. They approved the idea and the Home Run Team was born."
Home Run Team sponsors pledge to donate $25 to the United Way for each home run hit by Crosscutters players during the season. Sponsors have the option of capping their gift at 25 home runs, while others choose to contribute for the total number of home runs hit, maximizing their contribution. Throughout the 21 years, the combined contributions have ranged from a low of $3,500 to a high of $9,480.
During the Aug. 31 pre-game ceremonies at Bowman Field, the 11 sponsors of this year's Home Run Team will be honored. The sponsors include Fairfield Auto Group, McDonald's, Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships, Phillips Supply House, Jersey Shore State Bank, The Muncy Bank & Trust Co., Woodlands Bank, Staiman Recycling Corp., Lycoming Mall, Ron Insinger and the Williamsport Crosscutters.
"Phillips Supply House has enjoyed our many years of sponsorship with the Home Run Team," said Trey Phillips. "It truly does hit a Lycoming County home run. It is a win-win opportunity. The proceeds support local families in need, the United Way, a great local organization, and our very own Crosscutters Baseball club. It just doesn't get any better than that in our community. We are proud to be a member of the team."
Just like the Little Leaguers themselves, thanks to the community-minded sponsors, Williamsport Crosscutters home runs score big in the community.
Wertz is the director of resource development for Lycoming County United Way.