The Nineteenth Annual St. Jude Softball Tournament has been set for June 21 and 22 at the Volunteer Park in Gruetli-Laager.
The fundraising efforts have already gotten off to a great start with Myers Hill Congregational Methodist Church holding their annual gospel singing and barbeque event in April, netting close to $3,000. “Myers Hill Church has been doing this event for a long time and the commitment of that church is unbelievable,” stated Gayle VanHooser. Top fundraiser Kaelyn Roach, who raised over $2,000 last year, has also started seeking donations for this year’s event.
Roadblock Organizers, Critter Fults and Melissa King have set Saturday, May 25 from 8:00 a.m. until noon, for this year’s countywide roadblocks. “Now all they need is volunteers and contributors!” said King. “If you are willing to volunteer at any of the roadblock locations throughout the county, please text Critter at 931-235-1697 or Melissa at 931-235-5167. “We will have folks set up at Pelham, Monteagle near Dubose, Tracy City at the Creighton’s Chevrolet/Piggly Wiggly intersection, Coalmont at 56 Junction, Altamont at Hwy 50 and 108 intersections, and any other locations that we can get volunteers to man. All volunteers will receive a St. Jude T-shirt!”
Jason Tate and Mountain Archery will host the Fourth Annual St. Jude Archery Shoot at Gruetli-Laager Volunteer Park on July 27 and28. Jason has hopes that there will be another great turnout for this year’s event. “Jason Tate, Brian Sanders and others have worked hard every year to host a very professional shoot, with all the proceeds going to the children at St. Jude Hospital,” stated organizer Alvin Powell. “We are thankful for their continued support.”
Organizers are hoping to have another banner year for St. Jude and a good turnout of teams. Team Organizer Steven Woodlee asks that all teams please call as soon as possible. “We have put the tourney on Softball Wire, however, we hope that the local teams will call in quick in order to save a spot in the tourney. If you are planning to play, call 931-212-5916 as soon as possible to get a spot. It makes things go so much smoother if we can get the brackets drawn and get game times out to everyone. There are already a few teams signed up to play.
A few years ago the organizers made some changes, which involved hiring professional umpires for the tournament. The entry fee was raised to $175, which takes care of hiring qualified umpires and doesn’t cut into our original entry fee that would normally go to St. Jude. The Smokehouse in Monteagle donates rooms for the umpires. Each team will be responsible for bringing their softballs. The tournament organizers decided to allow only NSA approved 44 core softballs. There will be some limitations on bats; however, it will be the call of the NSA umpires and rules. We are not a NSA sanctioned tournament, but we will be following their rulings on bats and balls.
Organizers ask that ONLY teams that are willing to make a definite commitment to play enter, stating that there have been a few problems with teams not showing up and that only hurts the proceeds.
“The Unlimited Homerun Tourney has been a huge success for the past eighteen years and we have hopes for an even greater event this year, we hope they all come hungry for the best hamburgers in town and ready to play some good softball,” said Powell.
“The greatest thing about this event is that ALL the proceeds go to benefit the children at St. Jude, with hopes of seeing a day when not one child will have to suffer the consequences of dealing with cancer or loss of life,” said Powell. “I am constantly amazed by the out pouring of help that comes from all over the area.”
If you would like to help in any way, please contact Kristina Woodlee at 931-235-9679, Alvin Powell at 931-607-1457, Gayle VanHooser at 931-205-7115, or Melissa King at 931-467-5335 or 931-235-5167.
Organizers are looking for donations of time, trophies and plaques, and concession stand items, such as hamburger meat, hotdogs, barbeque, buns, drinks (water, Gatorade and soft drinks) condiments, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, chips, candy, pickles, and anything that can be sold in a concession stand. The time donation would consist of working on the roadblock, working concession stand, scorekeepers, ball runners, field maintenance, gate admissions, and cleanup crew. Organizers are working on a schedule, so that if you volunteer, you won’t have to stay all day, unless you just want to. For several years the Lady Yellow Jackets Basketball team signed up to work the tournament. Just about the entire team showed up at various times throughout the day to work concession and other locations during the tourney.
The organizers are constantly looking for ways to diversify the fundraising efforts. They would like to see the churches and schools across the county get involved. “We have had several church teams such as Myers Hill Church, Pearls of Christ, The Altamont Seventh Day Adventist Church and Plainview Church. Some of the youth at Cumberland Baptist Church in Beersheba, Plainview Church, Hobbs Hill Church in Tracy and Tracy City First United Methodist Church have been involved with helping at the tournament and the roadblocks. The Pelham community, organized by Bobby and Sheila Gallagher, take the roadblock and get volunteers from within the Pelham Community and over the past couple of years has collected the most money from their roadblock. They even go door to door after the roadblock to raise money for the kids.
Myers Hill Church has been the number one church fundraiser for the past seven years. Mountain Archery and owner Jason Tate has been the number one business contributor for the past several years.
Recently, Jeremy Fults, Critter Fults and Kaelyn Roach took a trip to visit the hospital. Doris Wiggins had told the group about a brick in the main hallway of the hospital that says, “From the People of Grundy County,” and while they were visiting, the group was excited to locate the brick and felt a great sense of pride that the people of Grundy County came together to help raise funds back in the early 70’s when Cindy Wiggins found out she had leukemia. “It was a wonderful experience to witness first hand the wonderful work that the hospital is doing on a daily basis to help these children. I felt that the parents and children experienced HOPE there!” stated Jeremy Fults. “I was truly blessed to see where the hard work and money go!” Kaelyn stated. “I could not believe all of the support that comes from across the country to make this hospital and it’s work a reality. I am so proud that Grundy County is a part of this,” said Critter Fults.
If you have any ideas that would help to promote or raise funds for the kids at St. Jude, please let us know what we can do or how you would like to help. As you can see, there are all kinds of ways to become involved. “We would like to encourage you to make an effort to do what you can. This is a hospital that has helped and is currently helping several people from our immediate area. If you ever need it, it is there for you and you will never receive a bill for services. Let’s all work together to make this the best year ever!” stated Powell.