Local businesses support local communities, and Woodstock Hardware based in Woodstock, NY does just that. Their most recent community revival project involved repairing the Rick Volz Memorial Little League Field. Not only does owner Vince Christofora care for his local community, but he also felt a strong desire to revive the field due to a personal connection.
In 1974, the memorial field was named after Rick Volz, a local community leader and volunteer, and the father of Christofora's 6th grade best friend. Community leader Rick Volz passed away after a tragic car accident, and Vince says he clearly remembers the day his classmate did not show up for school over 45 years ago. Christofora and his wife Diane knew repairing this neglected memorial field wasn't going to be an easy project. Because of this, they were so thankful to receive the support of not only their local community but the support of their contacts through their store, Woodstock Hardware. Between the local community members, and these store contacts, they were able to raise proper funds, equipment, materials, and volunteers for the repair project.
Vince and Diane Christofora feel very fortunate to have gained the support of two well-respected contractors, and customers of Woodstock Hardware, in their community, who volunteered an immense amount of time and equipment for the community project. Their help alone helped to kick start the project, as once trees were removed, the land was cleared, and buildings began to take shape, local community members felt more inclined to volunteer their time and help. The revival of this once-neglected memorial field sparked the interest of more community groups and members to be involved in the project. For example, the local fire department donated the materials and labor for twelve new picnic tables for the field and a newly built Pavilion. A local steel fabricator also custom-made and donated a one-of-a-kind piece of equipment to easily maintain the infield.
Although this started as a one-time revival of the local memorial field, community members continue to work year-round to ensure the field is looking its best, although the town is responsible for general maintenance. When asked how he felt about the support of his local community, Christofora says:
"How were we so fortunate? Well, just about every sector of our community supported the project. I have an amazing wife who puts up with and supports my big ideas - I have two sons who are willing to give up a lot of their free time to support their community, and we were blessed, and a little lucky!"
It's important to Vince and Diane that this field continues to receive the maintenance and care it deserves, which is why they've recently spoke to local businesses to "adopt" the field to avoid future neglect to this newly revived memorial field. Their children are no longer of age to use the field, but they didn't do it for them, they care about their local community and can't wait to see the field used and appreciated by players and families in the many years to come. Plus, the next generation of players and their families are already excited to help maintain and improve the memorial field, keeping it as a staple for their local community to use and appreciate.
This story is part of our ongoing ‘Local Memories, Lasting Impact’ series that highlights small, locally owned businesses and the differences they make in their communities.