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Dr. Darrell Burnett to Receive Little League Challenger Award

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 2, 2007) – The Little League Baseball Challenger Award recognizes the loyal support of volunteers who help children with disabilities enjoy the benefits of participating in Little League. Dr. Darrell Burnett of Laguna Niguel, Calif., will receive the Little League Challenger Award when he is honored this month at the 2007 Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Dr. Darrell Burnett

Dr. Burnett coordinates the Challenger Division in California Districts 55 and 68, and has served on the board of directors for Rancho Niguel Little League since 1987. Joining the Little League Challenger program in 1991, Dr. Burnett was elected District 55’s Assistant District Administrator for the Challenger Division in 1992.

“Darrell takes it upon himself to think of new and exciting ways to involve the Challenger players into the Little League experience,” Michi Gnesda, president of Rancho Niguel, said. “He provides ‘buddies’ for all of the Challenger ballplayers each and every week, at several ball fields. The Challenger program is strong because Darrell Burnett takes the time, and makes the effort, so that all children, both physically and mentally disabled and able-bodied, have the opportunity to experience what Little League has to offer.”

At the end of each season, Dr. Burnett organizes Challenger Division closing ceremonies for District 55 and 68, which in the past has included a trip to Angels Stadium, home of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

“Darrell works tirelessly to coordinate the district-wide Challenger program,” Tamara Lindner, California District 55 Administrator, said. “His energy and dedication to this program is deserving of this recognition as he facilitates play for 225 Challenger players and enlists the help of countless ‘buddies.’”

Started in 1989, the Challenger Division services more than 30,000 children worldwide, ages five to 18. The Little League Challenger Award was established in 1998 and annually acknowledges the efforts of a certain individual who exemplifies the Little League ideal of providing all youngsters an opportunity to play baseball regardless of their ability.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.