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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2007 > 24th Little League International Congress Concludes in Houston, Texas

24th Little League International Congress Concludes in Houston, Texas

George and Barbara Bush Honored as Little League’s ‘First Family’

Congress voting results can be found here!

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (April 23, 2007) – The 24th Little League International Congress convened in Houston, Texas, April 13-16, and for four days more than 460 delegates from 50 states and more than 70 countries debated and decided the direction of the Little League Baseball and Softball program for the next three years.

George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, and former First Lady Barbara Bush were distinguished guests at the 24th Little League International Congress in Houston, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Bush were honored as Little League’s “First Family” for their continued support of the Little League Baseball and Softball program.

Highlighting the Congress was a visit by George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, and former First Lady Barbara Bush, who attended the Chairman’s Luncheon and were honored as the “First Family” of Little League.

Peter O’Malley, former president of the Los Angeles Dodgers and a trustee of the Little League Foundation, presented Eric Hilton with the Peter O’Malley Little League Distinguished Ambassador Award during the luncheon. Mr. Hilton, a former Little League coach, has been a trustee of the Little League Foundation for more than 30 years, and recently had a field at Neartown Little League in Houston dedicated in his honor. Through his efforts, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has contributed more than $1 million to the Little League Urban Initiative.

Also recognized at the Chairman’s Luncheon, the final formal event of the Congress, were Bud Vanderberg (Chairman’s Award); and Tony Richardson (Peter J. McGovern Distinguished Service Award). Karl Ravech, host of ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight,” served as master of ceremonies.

Voting on the 16-item Congress agenda yielded six approved non-tournament rules, while two tournament-related items were approved by the Little League International Tournament Committee. The complete voting results, as well as approved dates of implementation, can be found here.

Beyond the business of discussing, amending and voting on the proposed changes to Little League’s rules and regulations, delegates had the opportunity to meet with Little League staff members, attend a series of educational training sessions, and recognize fellow volunteers at several special events.

The Congress’s opening convocation at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston welcomed Dale Murphy, former two-time National League most valuable player and Little League Hall of Excellence enshrinee, as its keynote speaker.

Dale Murphy, former two-time National League most valuable player and Little League Hall of Excellence enshrinee, was the keynote speaker at the opening convocation of the 24th Little League International Congress.

During regional meetings conducted at Congress, each of Little League’s nine regions nominated a field director to sit on the Little League International Board of Directors for a three-year term. The board nominees are: Giuseppe Guilizzoni (Europe, Middle East and Africa Region); Douglas MacKensie (Canada Region); Kenji Kimura (Asia and Pacific Region); Paul Flanagan (Southern Region); Ferris Maness (Southwestern Region); Ana Florencia Piñeros de Pelaez (Latin America Region); Robert Fleming (Western Region); David Ruotolo (Eastern Region); and John Roll (Central Region).

The nominations will be considered and appointments made at the board’s annual meeting in November. See a related story on the board nominees here.

Pins acknowledging years of service also were presented to district administrators and assistant district administrators during the regional meetings.

At the District Volunteer Recognition Luncheon, Art Mikelson, a 50-year volunteer and the only district administrator to attend each Congress, and Joe Losch, senior vice president of operations and corporate secretary, were honored with special tributes.

Mr. Losch, who has announced his retirement from Little League International after nearly 40 years, and his wife, Flicka, were recognized by outgoing Little League International board member Danny Cavallo and John Berardi, the son of longtime district administrator George Berardi, who was unable to attend due to illness.

Other district administrators (DAs) and assistant district administrators (ADAs) also were recognized for the effort and commitment on behalf of their leagues.

Little League Meritorious Service Awards were presented to district administrators: Dave Wetmore (Western Region, Calif. District 57); Robert Newnam (Eastern Region, Del. District 1); Linda North (Southern Region, Ga. District 4); Gary Kespohl (Central Region, Mo. District 4); Camilla Serrano (Southwestern Region, New Mexico District 5); Denis Wren (Canada District 3); Antonio Vazquez (Latin America Region, Puerto Rico District 1); and Giuseppe Guilizzoni (Europe, Middle East and Africa Region, Italy District 1); Katoh Kiyoshi (Asia-Pacific Region).

Receiving commendation awards were assistant district administrators: Keith Wagner (Central Region, Ind. District 7); Bob Toigo (Western Region, Wash. District 9); Maryellen Holden (Eastern Region, Conn. District 5); Lou Caprara (Southern Region, Fla. District 12); Carlos Davilla (Southwestern Region, Texas District 16); Kathy Howe Recchia (Canada District 5); Kenneth Drsbarida (Latin America Region, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles District 1); Grygoriy Grushetsky (Europe, Middle East and Africa Region, Ukraine District 1); and Jolly Gomez (Asia-Pacific Region, Philippines District 1).

Throughout the Congress, a series of training sessions provided a forum to educate and inform DAs and ADAs on the latest policies and procedures that operate the world’s largest organized youth sports program.

As part of the training sessions, Dr. James R Andrews, M.D., and Dr. Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D., two of the world’s foremost authorities on pitching injuries, offered their expert insight during two seminars on Little League’s pitch count rule.

The Congress Co-Chairmen were Hugh Tanner and Charlie Fox. Mr. Tanner is a long-time Little League coach, manager and board member in Houston’s West University Little League. Mr. Fox is district administrator for Texas District 16, the host district for the International Congress. Mr. Fox, representing the Congress host committee as a guest of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to a game between the Astros and Florida Marlins at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.

The 25th Little League International Congress will convene in 2010. A host site will be determined next year.

At the 24th Little league International Congress, Bud Vanderberg, left, Eric Hilton, center and Tony Richardson, right, were all recognized for their volunteerism and commitment to Little League. Mr. Vanderberg, Michigan 2 district administrator and tournament director for the Big League Softball World Series, received the Chairman’s Award. Mr. Hilton, a member of the Little League Foundation for 30 years, was presented the Little League Distinguished Ambassador Award. Mr. Richardson, Little League’s New Jersey state director, was honored with the Peter J. McGovern Distinguished Service Award.