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Volunteer Bud Hare Is the Tie that Binds Tuckahoe Little League’s Proud Past to its Promising Future

Bud Hare, right, pictured here with Bob Dement, a member of the Tuckahoe Little League’s 1976 Little League World Series team, has been a volunteer with the Tuckahoe Little League for more than 40 years, and continues to work with District 5 in Virginia as a member of its board of directors. In recent years, Mr. Hare has become involved in the district’s Challenger Division.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Jan. 31, 2006) – In more than 40 years of volunteer service to Little League in Richmond, Va., Francis ‘Bud’ Hare turned a personal favor into a lifetime of memories for generations of Tuckahoe Little Leaguers.

One evening, four decades ago, Mr. Hare, 78, was asked by a neighbor to substitute as manager of his son’s Little League team. Little did anyone know, especially Bud, that one day he’d be considered the lifeblood of the local league.

“I hope I’ve been a positive influence on the children and helped them to direct their lives,” Mr. Hare said. “One of the most positive things about Little League is the number of former players who are now coaches in the program and have their own children coming through. I’ve developed quite a few friends over the years through Little League and for that I don’t think any other youth sport can hold a candle to it.”

Tuckahoe Little League is located 15 miles northwest of Richmond, in Henrico County, and was first chartered in 1959. In 1966 the league split into Tuckahoe National and Tuckahoe American. Together, the two leagues charter tee ball through Senior Division, including a Challenger Division, and are the Little League Baseball and Softball home to 1,650 children.

“When Tuckahoe Little League began there were just three fields,” Devon Corrigan, Tuckahoe Little League president, said. “Twenty years later, the facilities have been built up and many more children are involved because the folks involved in the Little League program at that time were looking to grow the league.”

From the time he agreed to manage until today, Mr. Hare has volunteered for a wide assortment of roles from coach and manager to groundskeeper and concession stand operator. The concession stand and pavilion at the Tuckahoe Sports Complex bear his name and he continues to oversee the presentation of the league’s sportsmanship awards, which honor deceased former players.

“He is respected and admired by so many for what he continues to give to these children and this league,” Mr. Corrigan said. “Bud has a great gift. He has a wonderful way with the children and with people.”

Regardless of the responsibility, Mr. Hare set an example that showed work isn’t work if you aren’t having fun. He admits that coaching his three sons in Little League was a great experience, but found it easier to manage when he didn’t have a child on the team.

In 2005, Mr. Hare was Little League’s Southern Region grand prize winner of the Ace Hardware’s “Helpful Hero” contest.

“After my three boys finished playing, I decided I wanted to continue,” Mr. Hare said. “I stuck with it year after year and got a lot of pleasure out of it between the teamwork and the interest by adults to become role models. I think the biggest impact Little League has on children is it helps them to grow, and accept a loss as much as they celebrate a win.”

In 1976, Mr. Hare and Tuckahoe National Little League had the unique experience of reaching the Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport, Pa. The team finished the eight-team tournament with a 1-1 record. In Mr. Hare’s view, getting to the World Series and the moments with the team off the field were some of the most rewarding of his life. He also managed Tuckahoe Little League to the 1977 Virginia state championship and several district championships.

“I had six boys from my regular season team on the all-star team that went to the 1976 World Series,” Mr. Hare said. “You think you know the kids until you live on the road with them day and night. That’s when you realize you don’t really know them and when you learn a lot about them and their families.”

Bud Hare, right, Tuckahoe Little League’s jack of all trades, is pictured here with Mrs. Roxanne Melin, TLL’s Challenger Director. Mr. Hare has been involved with the TLL and Virginia District 5 Challenger Division since its inception in 1990.

Tuckahoe Little League has had a recurring presence at World Series tournaments. Aside from the ’76 team, Tuckahoe Little League traveled to Williamsport in 1968 and ‘93, while the league’s Senior Division baseball team played in the 1981 and ’83 Senior Baseball World Series.

Mr. Hare has been retired for 15 years from his job as a chief juvenile court probation officer in Henrico County and the city of Richmond. At one point a couple of years ago he tried to slowly phase himself out of Tuckahoe National Little League, but when the league decided to charter a Challenger Division team he jumped back in with both feet and organized the new division during one of his stints as league president.

Tuckahoe Little League first chartered its Challenger Division in 1990 and since that time Mr. Hare has participated and contributed his time with the local league and at the district level.

A four-time league president and resident “jack of all trades,” Mr. Hare is no longer holding a formal position on the Tuckahoe Little League board of directors, but he continues to provide insight and his experienced opinion when asked to weigh in on various local league issues, including his uniquely prosperous concession stand.

In 2005, Mr. Hare was Little League’s Southern Region grand prize winner of the Ace Hardware’s “Helpful Hero” contest. He was one of five national winners to receive a two-minute Ace Hardware shopping spree in recognition of his efforts to reverse the sluggish fortunes of the league’s concession sales. Ace Hardware is one of Little League Baseball and Softball’s corporate partners.

“There seems to be fewer and fewer adults expressing the interest in being actively engaged (in their community),” Mr. Corrigan said. “Many people have very busy lives and can’t find room in their schedules to give of their time. None of that ever bothered Bud, or got in his way. From one year to the next, Bud is a part of Tuckahoe Little League and Tuckahoe Little League is a part of Bud.”

The one major disappointment that Mr. Hare admits carrying with him is he didn’t have the good sense to keep a journal to jot down all of the funny, sad, exciting and tragic events that he has seen or heard as a Little League volunteer.

Mr. Hare’s current involvement in the district-wide Challenger Division has earned him a seat on the Virginia District 5 board of directors and has helped Tuckahoe Little League become a haven for the mentally and physically-challenged Little Leaguers in the district.

In 1976, Mr. Hare, pictured far right in the back row, was a coach with Tuckahoe Little League for the second of three appearances the league made in the Little League Baseball World Series.