JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of local electricians sacrificed a day off to make repairs to a local baseball field that was ransacked by thieves last year.
This comes after the News4JAX I-Team exposed the severe damage those thieves caused.
On Saturday, volunteers restored power to the Arlington Little League baseball field so hundreds of kids can get back on the diamond in time for the spring season.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Dozens of electricians are volunteering to restore power to the Arlington Little League baseball field. Late last years, thieves ransacked the complex and caused up to $80K worth of damage and stolen goods. @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/ZPeagfOKJA— Aaron Farrar (@aaronfarrarNews) January 15, 2022
This was personal to Alan Jones, who was one of the volunteers.
He played baseball on the same diamond 50 years ago.
“I have memories of all the guys I played with and all the coaches,” he said. “Those are priceless.”
Seeing that same field damaged was enough for Jones and other electricians from the IBEW Local 177 union and Miller Electric Company to replace the wiring for free. That wiring powered things like the scoreboard, electricity in the press box, and lights on the field.
Mike Brannen helped Saturday. He and Jones are disgusted by the damage done.
“It was just senseless that somebody came and ruined all of this for such a little reward that they got out of it,” Brannen said.
The News4JAX I-Team showed the work of the thieves from late last year.
They gutted the place Halloween weekend 2021, stealing equipment like dozens of pairs of cleats, they bashed the doors, tore up fences and ripped out copper wiring.
“It affects the kids,” Jones said. “It’s disgusting.”
The organization was forced to cut last fall season short for hundreds of kids and reported $80,000 worth of damage and stolen goods.
The repairs are free of charge for the Arlington Lions Club, which owns the sports complex but leases it to the little league for $1.
Councilman Al Ferraro stopped by to assess the work and thank the electricians. This was an honor for Brannen.
“We have been blessed with a skill that not everybody has,” he said. “Well, we get a chance to get back and use that for the good of a community. We absolutely want to do it.”
It was a long day’s work to right a wrong.
“It can set an example for somebody else down the road,” Jones said.
The hope is for young ballplayers to return to action soon.
Repairs are moving along in time for opening day for spring baseball March 5 at the same place Jones developed his game.
“The kids in the future could have some of those memories like I did,” Jones said.
All of the materials and supplies were donated by Graybar Electrical Supply.