Fred Lewers Named Little League Volunteer of the Year
It is rare for someone to spend 50 years with the same company. Florida resident Fred Lewers has spent 50 years in various positions with Little League Baseball and Softball, all as a local league volunteer.
For his many years of service to two local leagues and a district in New York, Mr. Lewers has been named the recipient of the 2011 Little League Volunteer of the Year award.
The award was established in 1989 to recognize the selfless efforts of more than one million volunteers at the grass-roots level of the Little League Baseball and Softball program. Mr. Lewers has displayed this kind of effort at the local, regional and national levels.
“The reason and motivation for someone who becomes a Little League volunteer is different for each of the 1 million volunteers we have,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “But one of the ties for many of our volunteers is a willingness to get involved and give freely of one’s time without expecting as much as a ‘thank you.’ Volunteers like Mr. Lewers are the foundation of our organization and the reason Little League is the best youth sports organization in the world.”
A native of Staten Island, N.Y., Mr. Lewers started his long association with Little League in 1961 as a manager in the West Shore Little League in Staten Island. During nearly 40 years of dedication to the league, Mr. Lewers served in just about every capacity possible. He served on the Board of Directors for the league for much of that time, while also serving as treasurer and umpiring.
In addition, he played an instrumental role in hosting the Little League Eastern Region Tournament in Staten Island prior to the construction of the regional headquarters in Bristol, Conn. He also served as the Assistant District Administrator for New York District 24 for several years.
“A combination of reasons led me to become involved in Little League,” Mr. Lewers said. “The main reason was because my family always taught us to give back, and initially I thought Little League would be a great way to do that. Once I was involved, it was the total volunteer atmosphere of the organization that has kept me interested for all these years.”
Mr. Lewers, who retired in 1990 after 20 years as a member of the New York City Fire Department, and his wife, Carol, moved to their present residence in Palm Coast, Fla., in 1990. For a few years after moving, they spent time in both Florida and New York. When Mr. Lewers discovered there was not a local Little League in Palm Coast, he immediately began the process to charter a league.
By 2000, Mr. Lewers and others had worked with the City of Palm Coast to successfully bring a league to the city of approximately 73,000. Since the beginning, he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Palm Coast Little League and the treasurer as the league has grown from two teams to 40.
“We live in a great city that has supplied us with great facilities for the kids,” Mr. Lewers said. “There has been a great cooperation and coordination between the league and the city which has played a big role in the growth.”
Bill Ward, the President of Palm Coast Little League, is familiar with the role Mr. Lewers has played in the lives of kids in both New York and Florida.
The 2011 Little League Volunteer of the Year, Fred Lewers (back row, middle), is joined by his grandsons, Brett Cain (back row, left), Michael Esposito (back row, right), Ryan Cain (front row, left) and Matthew Esposito (front row, right).
“Fred Lewers has worked tirelessly for more than half a century to make sure that every child who wanted to play Little League Baseball would be able to do so,” Mr. Ward said. “His love of baseball is matched only by his dedication to his family, who share his passion for the game. He has earned a place in the hearts of tens of thousands of kids who have become better citizens as a direct result of his efforts. Fred exemplifies everything that is good about Little League Baseball.”
As Chairman of the Building Committee for Palm Coast Little League, Mr. Lewers played an integral role in all phases of the recent construction of a meeting/training/storage building. He also prepares the more than 700-game league schedules each season.
Mr. Lewers and his wife of 45 years have two girls, Susan and Nancy, who both played Little League Softball in New York. Each of their four grandsons are or have been active in Little League. Mr. Lewers, who is broker/owner of Real Living Palm West Home Realty, also spent 26 years in the United States Army Reserve.
He will be recognized at a breakfast and an on-field ceremony during the 2011 Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport, Pa. The 65th World Series will be played Aug. 18-28.
The Little League Volunteer of the Year Award was designed to provide local leagues an opportunity to honor a deserving individual with this prestigious distinction. This honor is recognized as the most important and visible in the Little Baseball and Softball awards program.
Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with more than 2.5 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.
Past Recipients of the Little League Volunteer of the Year Award
- 1989-Ed Janser, Terryville (Conn.) LL
- 1990-Robert Beberg, American LL, Concord, Calif.
- 1991-Floyd Hull, Federal LL, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- 1992-George W. Groce, Kernersville (N.C.) LL
- 1993-John Barrow, Holbrook (Ariz.) LL
- 1994-Bob Crutchley, National LL, East Marietta, Ga.
- 1995-Lynne Humphries, Lamar LL, Richland, Texas
- 1996-Marlin Culp, Osolo LL, Elkhart, Ind.
- 1997-Wendy Covert, Saugerties (N.Y.) LL
- 1998-Sam Fleishman, American LL, Fort Myers, Fla.
- 1999-Vic Price, Great Falls (Va.) LL
- 2000-Richard Hilton, National LL, East Marietta, Ga.
- 2001-John Masucci, Lake of the Clouds LL, Ontonagon, Mich.
- 2002-Jeff Gray, Deer Park LL, Newport News, Va.
- 2003-Eloy Sutton, Oregon District 8, Central Pointe, Ore.
- 2004-Rebecca Alviso, Jourdanton (Texas) LL
- 2005-Dorothy Foster, Lionsville (Pa.) LL
- 2006-William Bryan, Georgetown (Del.) LL
- 2007-Kenny Mull, Mountaineer LL, Waynesville, N.C.
- 2008-Michael Smith, Nanticoke (Del.) LL
- 2009-Michael Shutler, North LL, Jackson, Mich.
- 2010-Mike Messick, Pennsville (N.J.) Little League