A good friend of mine Rich Holz asked "Hey Jim, where has the “Everyday Player” been?" Rich had actually nominated Chris Downs who I featured several weeks back.
I do apologize, with Jimmy and Hunter both playing baseball my time has been a little tight. My articles have been running a little wordy and Steph my editor runs a tight ship, even I get only so much space.
No worries my friends, the “Everyday Player” is back. Remember we are looking for a person in our community who goes above and beyond to make our lives better. Often they fly under the radar and are not looking for recognition or thanks. They simply give daily effort because that is who they are, unselfish, caring people who would be missed if they were not there. They come from all walks of life and could be getting you that perfect cup of coffee with a smile in the morning or helping out and supporting more charities and neighbors than we even know about. I will do my best to feature someone each week at the end of my column.
First up, Mike Rampulla. I ran into him at Thompson's Power Equipment a while back. If you don't recognize him at first glance picture him flagging traffic with a smile and kind word for everyone as you pass through the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sewer Authority worksite.
I asked Mike "Where have you been, I haven't seen you lately?" He informed me that the happiest water worker in history has retired after serving the greater Williamsport area for 45 years. Wow, he began his career with the water company at age 17. At that time he and his boss were the only two workers in this department.
He retired as a crew chief but could almost always be found flagging. Why – "I always enjoyed doing it and could help my guys by flagging. I got to know so many good people as time went by it was more than just flagging. I could provide safety and a smile while drivers were being inconvenienced.” Thanks Mike for caring and sharing.
Mike is also a Penn State fan through and Blue, especially on the wrestling mat. Some might remember Mike from Williamsport frequently calling in to the Joe Paterno Call in Show on Thursday nights. Mike is spending time with wife Cheryl, his kids and grandkids Haley, Alexis, Maddie, Isaac and Cole. Tip of the flag to you Mike, enjoy your retirement and those Nittany Lions.
Sue Weaver is the great lady that manages the Loyalsock Dunkin' Donuts. I have known her and admired her and the staff that runs the golden strip store for years.
As you know the Dunkin’ on the strip is a high traffic, high stress location especially when folks haven't had their morning coffee. Sue is calm, cool, and collected, always friendly, always glad to see you.
She has helped me fuel sports teams; I would take six dozen donuts to my middle school footballers before each Thursday afternoon game. We won a lot of games powered by Dunkin’. She would help when we hosted a baseball tournament or special event without even being asked, my sincere thanks. Sue is truly a proud, caring member of our community who just happens to be the manager of a Dunkin’.
A tip of my hazelnut Coolatte and thank you Sue for all you do.
John Berresford was truly an "Everyday Player" and one of the good guys. I first met him playing summer league three on three basketball. He and Scott Starr included me on their team in the annual Loyalsock Summer League. I was just 14, John, Scott, Steve Pfirman, brother Jeff, Rick Harbaugh and Tony Pioli were all about eight years older than me. They took me in and treated me like a younger brother. The league Loyalsock Head Coach Ron CI Insinger ran at the old middle school was "The League" at the time. Anyone who was good at hoops in the area played, adults and high schoolers. What a great summer I had, thanks to John and my teammates.
The game of basketball was a passion of John's and would bring us together a little later in life. John gave a great deal of his time running Montoursville’s Elementary basketball program. At the end of each season he organized third & fourth, and fifth & sixth grade tournaments at Lyter School. Teams from all over the area participated. It was always well done and well run.
John always had Loyalsock penciled in and provided me with other tournaments to take the young Lancers too. He gave so many young players from so many schools the joy of hoops at a young age. There were not many third and fourth grade school tournaments at the time. John was ahead of his time. I looked forward to seeing him every year and catching up until of course my kids grew into the middle school.
John was a passionate and caring man who gave freely of his time. He loved his fellow man and community. He dearly loved and was proud of his two sons Blake and Bryce and his wife of 28 years, Ann.
CI was his coach during his days at Loyalsock; he provided me these words about John. "Johnny always gave 100% and worked hard to make himself better as a player. He continued this right on throughout his life and tried to make others lives better also. He was dedicated to whatever he was doing and just a great person." Well said CI.
John went home to the Lord a couple weeks back. My sincere condolences to his family. My sincere thanks to a good man.
God Bless America.