Mike Messick Named 2010 Little League Volunteer of the Year
The dictionary meaning of the word volunteer is “a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.” The 2010 recipient of the Little League Volunteer of the Year Award, Mike Messick, has satisfied the meaning of the word and then some.
Mr. Messick has not only served in several capacities for the Pennsville (N.J.) Little League over the last 32 years, he also has spent many volunteer hours working on behalf of District 3 in New Jersey and Little League Baseball and Softball on a national level.
The Little League Volunteer of the Year Award, which was established in 1989, recognizes the selfless efforts of more than one million volunteers at the grass-roots level of the Little League Baseball and Softball program. Mr. Messick has displayed this kind of effort at the local, regional and national levels of the Little League International organization.
“The motivation to become a Little League volunteer varies with each person, but the common tie is the willingness to get involved and give freely of one’s time without expecting as much as a ‘thank you,’” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Mr. Messick has done just that serving in numerous positions at several different levels. People like Mr. Messick are the foundation of our organization and the reason Little League has a positive reputation.”
Born and raised in Pennsville, N.J., Mr. Messick began his association with Little League like many adults do – as a coach for the teams his children played on. He then added duties as a member of the local Board serving as a Treasurer for seven years and Vice President for another four years.
“Mike has been a valued member in our local league,” Keith Lamb, President of Pennsville Little League, said. “Mike’s expertise in all areas of Little League has helped our organization immensely. Whether it was a question on the functionality of our league or a simple rules question, Mike seems to have the answer in his back pocket.”
But, 28 years ago, the retired 41-year employee of a chemical company found another way to be involved that still has him active to this day – umpiring.
“Many years ago, there was a shortage of umpires, both locally and on a district level,” Mr. Messick said. “I decided to help in that area and it has become something I have thoroughly enjoyed ever since. Umpiring, and mentoring others who want to become umpires, is something that I will always look back on and feel good about.”
Mr. Messick has served as the Umpire-In-Chief (UIC) for the Pennsville Little League for more than 20 years and for four additional years on the District level. Since 1992, the father of two with two grandchildren has come to South Williamsport to serve as an instructor at umpiring clinics each spring and fall.
“Mike has been an invaluable member of our umpire school and clinic staffs for many years,” Nick Caringi, Little League’s Senior Director of Operations and Education, said. “When you consider the amount of volunteer time he has spent making himself a very good umpire, and the amount of time he has spent training others, along with his time spent umpiring on the local and regional levels, he is certainly a worthy recipient of the award.”
“I enjoy working with the children and watching them become young adults,” Mr. Messick said. “I have done this for so long, I am now seeing the children of players who were active when I first started. Many of those, now adults, have communicated to me how appreciative they are of my commitment to Little League. Their words have certainly made all those volunteer hours even more meaningful.”
And, believe it or not, Little League is not the only organization that has benefitted from his willingness to give of his time.
Mr. Messick, who has been married to his wife, Helen, for 43 years, has also taught religious education classes for 25 years and the local Boy Scouts have prospered from his leadership as a group leader and many years as the district chairman for the Pinewood Derby.
Presently, the Chairman of the Audit Committee for the local league in addition to coordinating tryouts and drafts at each of the different divisions, Mr. Messick was honored when he received the letter notifying him of his selection as the Volunteer of the Year.
“It really came as a complete surprise to me and I had to have my wife read the letter to me before it really hit me,” Mr Messick said. “There are so many volunteers who make Little League the organization that it is and to single me out is probably not fair. But, I am proud to represent every volunteer around the world. We all, as a group, help make things work.”
He will be recognized at a breakfast and an on-field ceremony during the 2010 Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport, Pa. The 64th World Series will be played Aug. 20-29.
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.
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.