To know Troy Trumbo was to love him. Ask anyone at Saturday's dedication ceremony because there were few dry eyes by the time the 30-minute program ended on Danville's field of dreams.
Boyle County baseball coach Dave Camic was Trumbo's coach at Danville. He joked that Troy would wonder what all the "fuss was about" Saturday, but then Camic also showed just what the fuss was about.
"He exemplified what a team player was. He was a great role model. Everything was about the team. He never looked at stats, and he had some great stats," Camic said.
That's when Camic had to stop and try to compose himself. When he finally did fight back the tears long enough to finish, he added, "This is hard for me. I thought of him as one of my own."
A lot of us did. That's the impact this fun-loving youngster had on everyone who knew him.
"I can still hear Troy's laughter today," said Keith Madison, Trumbo's coach at Kentucky. "That's a great memory I have of him.
"He was special. If the Lord had spared him, I feel confident he would be playing major league baseball.
But he was special not just because of what he did on the field, but because of the joy, laughter and closeness he brought to our team and anyone who knew him."
Fletcher and Wilder honored Trumbo
Governor Ernie Fletcher sent a proclamation declaring Saturday Troy Trumbo Youth Baseball Day. County judge-executive Tony Wilder praised the impact Troy Trumbo and his parents had on this community.
Somehow I think Troy would have been most moved by the part of the ceremony that was not about him. Al Atmore, Trumbo's Little League coach for six years, was also honored for his work with Little League baseball here from 1972-2003.
While Trumbo's family knew their son was being honored, Atmore had no idea a plaque was going to be unveiled for Atmore Avenue that would make his name a permanent fixture along with Troy Trumbo's at the Little League complex.
"He taught us a lot more than baseball," Damon Stewart, one of Atmore's former players, said. "He taught us how to have fun. No matter whether things went well or not, he was there to build us up."
Atmore spoke when the field at Jackson Park was named in Trumbo's honor in 1996. This time he didn't try. He also made no attempt to talk after he was honored.
Atmore did throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a Little League game after the dedication ceremony, as did Troy Trumbo's nephew, who is named after him. Danville and Boyle County high school players lined the baselines for the pitch and several of the current high school players had played on Atmore's Little League team.
This was a day made for Trumbo and Atmore
This was a day made for Trumbo and Atmore not because of the honors they received, but because of all that was going on around Millennium Park. Danville-Boyle County Parks and Recreation director John Drake estimated that between 1,200 and 1,400 youngsters played on the baseball and softball fields last year. Saturday the park had Little League soccer and baseball games being played as well as a high school softball invitational tournament being hosted by Boyle. The March of Dimes Walk America brought even more to the park at the same time.
"This is our field of dreams," said Beverly Sleet, chairman of the parks and recreation Department. "Ten years ago this was a pasture. Dreams do come true."
Sometimes they do and hopefully a lot of youngsters are going to continue to dream while enjoying the Troy Trumbo Youth Baseball Complex. Troy always dreamed and I know he would want youngsters here doing the same now, too.
But while youngsters can dream, it's also nice that a lot of us who knew Troy can also reminisce by taking Atmore Avenue to the Troy Trumbo Youth Baseball Complex and remembering all lives both of these special people touched.