Carly Carver, Editor
The Ashland Bea
The Catlettsburg Little League is hosting a fundraiser for the Jamie Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship Fund Fitz’s Outfield Angels.
“We've had a heavy heart for quite a while now,” said Josh Gilbert. “We wanted to do something, but we didn't want to overstep any boundaries. Little did we know, there was a much bigger hand pushing us toward this. All we had to do was listen, and he would tell us the answer.”
The Catlettsburg Little League felt called to do something for their prior little league player, who passed away after a building collapsed at the Killen Generating Station in Adams County, Ohio. Doug Gray, who was from Greenup County, also died in the Dec. 9 collapse.
“There was a kid named Jamie, who was full of life and adventure,” said Gilbert. “Jamie wanted to play baseball, but as most of us in town know, sometimes ends won't meet up enough for us to be able to afford it. However, by God's grace this town is special, and these people truly do look out for one of their own. Two men by the name of Art Stewart and Phillip Caldwell decided that the injustice and waste of a great baseball talent like Jamie was not going to happen on their watch. He wasn't falling through those cracks.”
Jamie Fitzgerald was known for telling others that story of the two men who made it possible for him to play. “They bought his glove, his cleats, his bat... all of it,” said Gilbert. “And that meant more to Jamie than perhaps they could have ever known.”
Jamie would also go further with his appreciation of those two men and what they meant to his childhood, said Gilbert.
“He would tell about the time that they took their team to Riverfront Stadium to watch the Reds, and how he had no money to go, but him not going was never a thought in their minds,” said Gilbert. “One gave him spending money and the other bought him a wallet to keep it in and all they ever said to him about it was ‘have fun’.”
The Catlettsburg Little League spoke with Jamie’s fiancé, Lora Conley, about the idea of honoring him. “With the blessing and participation of Lora, we are establishing the Jamie Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship Fund "Fitz's Outfield Angels",” said Gilbert.
Jamie Fitzgerald’s sister, Lynn Fitzgerald, said that this was a great effort by the league. “My brother has always had a heart for baseball, ever since he was a little boy,” said Lynn. “He would be so proud that this memorial fund was set up in his name to help the less fortunate still be able to chase their dream.”
The money donated to this fund will be used to pay for a child’s registration fee to be able to play or to help with any other need that the children may need to have addressed to be able to play ball.
Those wishing to donate can send checks payable to the Catlettsburg Little League to: PO Box 38, Catlettsburg, KY 41129, Memo Line: Jamie Fitzgerald.