Texas Native, Greg Hodges, Named Little League Volunteer of the Year
Except for a few years of his life when he was attending college, Greg Hodges has been associated with Little League Baseball and Softball. From his initial experience as a player in the West Columbia (Texas) Little League to his current work in many different capacities in the Needville (Texas) Little League, Mr. Hodges has been one of those volunteers that helps make an organization vibrant and successful.
For his more than 32 years of service, Mr. Hodges has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 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. Nominations can be made by the more than 7,000 leagues around the world for the Little League Volunteer of the Year award. The Little League Baseball and Softball awards program is sponsored by Chartis.
“Each of the more than one million Little League volunteers we have give freely of their time for many different reasons,” 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 without expecting as much as a ‘thank you.’ Volunteers like Mr. Hodges are the foundation of our organization and the reason Little League Baseball and Softball is the best youth sports organization in the world.”
Mr. Hodges and his brothers were coached by their father, Bobby, during their Little League years. Those years played a big role in decisions he would make when he became a father.
“My connection with Little League started when I was a player and was cultivated by my father, Bobby, who was a coach in West Columbia for 20 years,” Mr. Hodges, who has been a lineman for a light company for 30 years, said. “I knew after seeing the joy my dad got from being involved in Little League, that I would do the same when I became a father.”
Mr. Hodges and his wife, Rhonda, moved to her hometown of Needville in 1980, and he immediately became involved with the local league as an umpire. After a few years, his first child, Greg, became old enough to begin playing when he added coaching to his duties. In succeeding years, he also would coach the teams his daughters, Kelly and Lauren, played on. In 2000, he coached Kelly and her teammates to within one game of the Senior Softball World Series, losing in the Southern Region championship game.
For the last 15 years, Mr. Hodges, 52, has been the Treasurer for the Needville Little League where his main duties are overseeing the fiscal operation of the league while also purchasing equipment, regular season and all-star uniforms and coordinating the concession stand and food purchases. Like most local leagues, Mr. Hodges said the officers in Needville perform whatever task is needed, regardless of their title.
“I have served for the last 17 years on the board with Greg,” Charlie Swanson, Needville Little League President, said in nominating Mr. Hodges for the Volunteer of the Year award. “It is difficult to put into words how much Greg means to our Little League program. It is an everyday job to him, and he takes it personally when things are not right for the kids, parents and volunteers. He does what he does for our league because he loves it.”
In 2001, after umpiring for most of the previous 19 years, Mr. Hodges turned his attention, in addition to his local league duties, to umpiring on the district, state and regional levels in hopes of someday getting the opportunity to work at one of the eight Little League World Series.
He paid his dues over the next nine years and in 2010 was selected to work the Junior League Softball World Series in Kirkland, Wash. His exemplary work during the tournament earned him the honor of working behind the plate for the championship game. He will be a member of the umpiring crew for the Southwestern Region Tournament in the Senior Softball Division this summer. He hopes to work another World Series before deciding to give up umpiring.
“Wow, what an unbelievable honor,” Mr. Hodges said when responding to being selected as Little League’s Volunteer of the Year. “Being involved with the Needville Little League for the last 26 years has provided me with many special memories and has allowed me to make many lasting friendships across the state of Texas. I look forward to making many more of both in the years to come.”
Mr. Hodges and his wife have been married for 32 years.
He will be recognized at a breakfast and during an on-field ceremony at the 2012 Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport, Pa. The 66th World Series will be played Aug. 16-26.
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.
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.) LL
- 2011-Fred Lewers, Palm Coast (Fla.) LL/West Shore LL, Staten Island, N.Y.