We applaud the successful efforts to honor the late Betty Hearn by naming of complex

Published 7:51 pm Saturday, March 25, 2017

Betty Hearn did not live long enough to attend ceremonies dedicating softball fields in her honor. But, she lived long enough to garner the treasures of her work.

For years, Hearn advocated the start and development of youth softball in Vicksburg. She coached hundreds of children in the game she played into her 60s.

Her work led to the creation of a youth softball league in Vicksburg, which has now grown into the Vicksburg Girls Softball Association. It also brought softball to high schools in Vicksburg.

Today, VGSA features age divisions and teams for girls age 6 through 16.

On any given weekday night during the spring season, the new Betty Hearn softball complex is abuzz with hundreds of people, all enjoying either playing or watching softball.

At the high school level, the game has helped teach young women the value of sports and athletics and led to college scholarships for some.

Last week, the VGSA led the effort to have the softball complex named after Hearn who died in March 2016 at the age of 92.

It was a well-deserved honor.

And while Hearn was not around to see the dedication ceremony or to see her granddaughter throw out the first pitch during the VGSA’s opening ceremonies, her spirit was there.

It was there in the coaches who volunteer their time and their energy to teach a game Hearn so loved. It was there in the parents and volunteers who worked the concession stand or ferried children to and from the park for games and practices.

And, without a doubt, it was there in the girls — some young women — who come together during this time to play a game beloved by so many.

Hearn’s dedication to not just softball in Vicksburg, but to the city’s youth, cannot be simply measured by a sign with her name.

Her dedication to the sport and to the children can only be measured in the hundreds of lives in which her volunteerism helped make a difference.

We applaud the efforts of the VGSA and others to dedicate the softball complex in Hearn’s name and to carry on what she started.