Posted by Jackie Riggleman on Dec 31, 2018
Although sports teams are often heralded for their talent and for the excitement they offer fans, many athletes quietly give back to their communities in ways far more meaningful. The Pittsburgh Pirates--and their farm teams--offer ample evidence of such contributions, dating back to a challenge by legend Roberto Clemente, who perished on New Year's Eve 1972 while working to serve others. 


PRESIDING TODAY IS: E-Club Member Jackie Riggleman

bellDing! We’re now in session.

Welcome all – Visitors, fellow Rotarians and guests alike to this E-Club program!


Four-Way Test

At the beginning of each meeting we remind ourselves of the The Four-Way Test.  Therefore, please remember to ask yourself always . . .

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

A Reflective Moment

“Anytime you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.”

         -- Roberto Clemente 
 A Light Moment

Isaac: How long did the baseball player spend in the library?

Vera: I’m stumped.

Isaac: Five minutes. It was a short stop.


Program:  Pittsburgh Pirates' Community Service Commitment

Rotary and service go hand-in-hand, but people don't often naturally equate professional athletes with community commitment. Yet, every season the Pittsburgh Pirates challenge their players to give back to their communities. The challenge is given from the MLB players to the Dominican Summer League players and was inspired by the work Roberto Clemente did in the community.
Clemente was born in Puerto Rico in 1934 and died in a Dec. 31, 1972, plane crash while trying to provide aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He played all 18 years of his major league career with the Pirates and played in 15 All-Star games. He was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame the year following his death. His statue is poised outside the Pirates' ball field.
To continue his legacy in the younger generations, the Pirates developed this community service program to show players how to give back to the communities that host them every spring training and season.
Each player is given a certain number of hours they must complete. If a player has been a member of the organization for over one year they will be challenged to complete 10 hours. Anyone who signs after spring training commences will be required to complete 5 hours. Each team has a front office member who oversees the events and hours, along with the support of the coaching staff and Pittsburgh Player Development Staff. Players may participate in these events as well as work with the staff to develop events that interest them specifically.
This one of a kind program produces thousands of hours each season of players giving back to the communities that host them during their season. In Morgantown, WV, the WV Black Bears (Single-A Short Season Affiliate of the Pirates) continuously commit over 400 hours of service to the community from June to September.
Partnerships include visits to the WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital, reading at local Elementary Schools and hosting car washes for the Alzheimer’s Association. The team plays 38 games at Monongalia County Ballpark with 10-15 of those having community events the morning of the games.
At the end of every season the Pirates recognize one player from each team in their development system who have exceeded the challenge. They also give a $5,000 scholarship to one player who completes 20 hours in season and 20 hours out of season.
Players are not allowed to receive hours for signing autographs and they are not to be paid for the appearances. The thought process behind this is to give full self to service.
The following WV Black Bears have been awarded the end of the year recognition:
  • Erik Forgione- Over 25 hours of service
  • James Marvel- Over 32 hours of service
  • Shane Kemp- Over 30 hours of service
  • Mike LoPresti- Over 25 hours of service
The photos below show some of their work and some of the joy they bring:
It's good to have and honor heroes like Clemente, who are recognized for their character and contributions off the field as well as for their talents on it.
Thank you for participating in this program! Please leave a comment below: