Monday, October 16, 2017
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Governor Charlie Baker and Bill Powers representing Congressman Richard E. Neal, as well as Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Recreation and Building Management and Van Horn Monument Committee joined for a ceremony on Saturday afternoon to dedicate the new Van Horn Monument in Van Horn Park. The Monument stands by the main park entrance on Armory Street. Following the ceremony was a Van Horn and Hungry Hill reunion, complete with a cookout, refreshments and Irish music by the Belfast Cowboys, with Father Reilly and Friends, and Mike Finnerty and the Tinkermen.
The monument is dedicated in honor of the men and women of the Van Horn Parents Association, including past coaches, players, volunteers, parents and fans. Their contributions to youth sports throughout the years have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of youth from Hungry Hill and across the City of Springfield. Additionally, the monument recognizes those involved in sports at Our Lady of Hope, American Legion Post 430, the Acorns, Blackstones and Celtics – which existed from the 1920’s to the 1980’s. Van Horn sports teams produced many championship willing teams, taking titles across Springfield, Western Massachusetts and State levels.
Mayor Sarno stated, “First of all, a heartfelt huge thanks goes out to Marty Reilly and his committee members – tremendous job in making the legacy of hard work ethic and determination to succeed on and off the field. Also, thank you to Pat Sullivan, my Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management and his team for their assistance on this project. All of us might not have had much, but we had what we needed – this monument reflects a family and community ‘can do attitude’. By the way, I won a few on the baseball field versus the Van Horn Aces, but probably lost more than a few too!”
“Congratulations to the Van Horn Parents Association and the many coaches and players who have contributed to giving kids and families the opportunity to participate in youth sports throughout the community,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I am honored to join Mayor Sarno and Congressman Neal to dedicate this monument and look forward to seeing youth activities continue to make a difference throughout Springfield.”
Bill Powers, on behalf of Congressman Richard E. Neal, presented a special American flag to fly at Van Horn Park. The flag previously flew over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. “Van Horn Park has long been the central location in Ward 2 for families to attend youth sporting events – including my own,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “This monument is a fitting tribute to the generations of coaches, players, and teams who dedicated their time to youth sports. Special congratulations to Marty Reilly and his committee for making this idea a reality.”
Patrick Sullivan said, “This monument will serve to remind all that pass the importance the Van Horn Parents Association played in the youth development for this neighborhood. It is important to recognize our past as it can serve a reminder of what can be accomplished for the youth today. We hope this memorial inspires everyone to take an active role in preserving activities for youth across the city.”
Brian Santaniello, Chairman of the Park Commission, added, “The Springfield Park Commission congratulates this committee in accomplishing the construction of this memorial. We are so proud to be naming the fields in honor of the Van Horn Parents Association for their countless hours and preserving the integrity of this park with positive activities.”
Marty Reilly, a Hungry Hill native and former State Senator, acts as the Chairman of the Van Horn Monument Committee. He and his brother Father Nune Reilly had been instrumental in fundraising for the monument project, and have always maintained strong ties to the community in which they grew up. Marty stated, ”Thanks to all on the Van Horn Monument Committee , Mayor Sarno , Pat Sullivan, Chairman Brian Santaniello of the Springfield Park Commission, and the entire community for their collective efforts in coming together to make the Van Horn Parents Association Monument a reality in honor of the parents, coaches , players, friends , volunteers and supporters. Their selfless contributions to youth sports made such a positive difference in the lives of thousands of kids and families on Hungry Hill, Spingfield, Western Massachusetts and Massachusetts.”
For more information on the Van Horn Monument, please visit: http://vanhornpark.com/contact.html.