When John Seibert, Director of Valpo Parks, received the call that a donation had been made to the department’s Leaders Giving Back campaign, he was happy to hear that it was in honor of former little-league coach Charles “Biff” Geiss. The donation came from former Valpo little-leaguer Dave Lebryk, who now happens to be the Fiscal Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. From the donation was born the Youth Sports Fund and the Biff Geiss Rookie Baseball League. Lebryk made a special visit from the East Coast to celebrate the league’s opening day Wednesday.
“I spent sunup to sundown in the Valpo Parks and it was an enormously positive experience. Coach Geiss ran the youth leagues and was a neighbor down the street. He was a coach, teacher in high school, and a wonderful mentor,” Lebryk said.
“It was my honor to get to know Dave Lebryk,” Seibert said. “Our community is about paying it forward and making sure our next generation has those same kinds of experiences, or better.”
The Youth Sports Fund donations made by Lebryk, as well as donations given to honor former Valparaiso coach Dale Gott, will be used for coach training, safer equipment, and scholarships so all children have the opportunity to take part in a sports league regardless of financial circumstances.
“I always say I come from Valparaiso, Indiana and am very proud to come back here. I kept in touch with so many of my coaches,” Lebryk said. “So many of the people that I admired when I was younger, I continue to admire today. Coach Geiss is someone you knew had great values, commitment, and integrity. And now 40 years later, I continue to see I was right.”
Geiss was a long-time Valparaiso school coach and teacher. He has been volunteering with the Parks Department for 26 years and continues to do so to this day. A lifetime of dedication to the youth in the community is well worth the recognition bestowed on him last night.
Geiss summed it up best saying, “Improvement is important with kids at this age. These kids are our treasure. Handle with care.”
The Youth Sports Fund is looking to raise $50,000 for sports programs this year. With Lebryk’s donation, they are well on their way. To find out more about the Valpo Parks Foundation, or to give yourself, visit their website https://www.valpoparksfoundation.org.