Earlier this month, baseball fans all over the country celebrated Opening Day of the Major Leagues. Saturday morning, players and their families of the Hebron Little League celebrated their own Opening Day, complete with a parade, raffle, and a special surprise for the Hebron community.
Northwest Indiana’s own 1st Source Bank generously donated $20,000 to the Hebron Little League to support construction of the league’s new pavilion, which start later this year. The new pavilion will prove families the chance to enjoy a new concession stand, bathrooms, and picnic tables while watching their sons and daughters play the games they love.
“1st Source Bank made a $20,000 donation to the Little League to support a new pavilion project,” said Matt Vessely, Regional President for 1st Source Bank. “This is a really substantial project and is really important for the Little League and for the Hebron community.”
1st Source Bank has a reputation in Northwest Indiana as being a bank that is not only there for its customers and clients, but also for the community it has been a part of for over 150 years. And with the presentation of a substantial donation to a league full of young kids passionate about baseball, the bank has once again shown the impact an organization can have in a community.
“One of 1st Source Bank’s core values is community involvement and leadership,” Vessely said. “We’re committed to doing that in all of the communities we serve. Hebron is a really important market for us and it’s a great community were something like the Little League really touches everyone in a big way. So to support a facility that not only provides concessions, but also bathrooms and a place to relax will really make it a true community gathering.”
The current pavilion is about 18 years old and has been in desperate need of repairs and a bigger space to accommodate more people in the growing league. With the money that 1st Source Bank provided, those much needed repairs will finally come to fruition later this year.
“The current pavilion was great 15 years ago, but now it is just not big enough for all of the kids we have joining the league and everything we have going on,” said Ed Fisher, President of the Hebron Little League. “So with having a new pavilion area, families will be able to come and sit down at a picnic table, catch up, and spend some time together. My long term goal for this new pavilion is that my grandkids are buying hot dogs and popcorn out of it!”
The new pavilion plans were announced at Opening Day Saturday morning, where all 20 teams in the league, including a t-ball team sponsored by 1st Source Bank, were gathered to celebrate the start of their favorite time of the year. One player, Brock Franzman, who has played in the Hebron Little League for six years now, loves baseball and hopes to one day play in the Major Leagues.
“I want to be like Anthony Rizzo when I’m older,” Brock said. “I love playing in the Little League. My favorite thing about baseball is when you’re up to bat and you feel confidence in your heart.”
Baseball has been an important part of the Franzmans’ lives for years; Brock has played in the Hebron Little League since he was four years old, and this year, his father is his team’s coach. And with the addition of the new pavilion later this year, the league the Franzmans and other families love so much will benefit from a kind and generous act.
“The concessions stand has been in need of repairs for a long time, so it’s time for us to have something really nice here,” said Brock’s mother, Sarah Franzman. “It’s a sense of pride and ownership, and it’s a project that has brought a lot of people together to do something really great for kids and someday our grandkids to enjoy.”
Bringing people together is what 1st Source Bank strives for in its community involvement. But while the major donation 1st Source Bank gave to the Hebron Little League is significant and essential to help the league grow, Vessely and his associates, Crystal Cartwright and JoElla DePra, knew that what they were giving the community was more than just money; it was hope and inspiration.
“We made a large contribution and it’s going to help a lot, but the project is much larger than what we donated,” Vessely said. “So we hope that our lead gift will inspire others to jump in an contribute and help them further their fundraising.”