The Hancock County community came together at South Hancock Park Saturday to support and raise money for one of our own in the 3 rd Annual Dave Taylor Memorial Softball Tournament.
The event raised over $8,200 to help Aiden Fullenwider and his family with expenses as he bravely battles brain cancer. The event was a testament to the power of community spirit as many volunteers dedicated their time and talents to make it a resounding success.
The event featured a diverse range of activities that had something for everyone. Aiden kicked off the tournament by impressively throwing out the first pitch. Aiden is no stranger to the football field, but he also has quite the arm! After the ceremonial first pitch, the tournament was underway. What sets this tournament apart is its unique twist – a wheel was spun at the start of each inning to determine a special rule that would apply for that inning.
Teams had the option to spin again for a $10 donation if they wanted to test their luck with hopes of a more favorable rule. This added an element of unpredictability and excitement to the games, keeping both players and spectators engaged throughout the day.
At the end of the day, Team Harris brought home the victory after a hard fought battle in extra innings with Boling Chapel. The winning team included Mark Harris, Kristen Ford, Dakendra Rice, Kaitlin Tanner, Jacob White, Clay Herndon, Caleb Keown, Jacob Sumner, Kolton Keown, and Jordan Rhodes.
Many thanks to several individuals for umpiring games including Chris Finley, Mike Boling, Daniel Boling, Nick McCaslin, Clay Herndon, Krystal Sharp, Shelby Sharp, Logan Boling, Tyler Kratzer, and Jake Powers (apologies if any were missed). A special note of appreciation goes out to Rob Roberts, whose dedication in preparing the field for the tournament ensured a smooth and enjoyable day for all participants.
The silent auction was another major highlight of the day, with over 50 donations from local businesses and individuals. Bidders eagerly competed for an array of items, from handcrafted goods to gift certificates for local restaurants. The generosity of donors played a pivotal role in raising significant funds for Aiden’s cause. Wanita Lawson dedicated many hours to collecting items and running the silent auction.
Kiddos enjoyed the bounce house graciously provided by Space Walk Inflatables. John Garner also organized a cruise in car show which took the backroads around Hancock County before making their appearance at the park.
The concession stand was fully stocked for the event to ensure all attendees were well fed. John- Michael Morris graciously donated Boston butt sandwiches and donations from Hello Pop and It’s All Sports ensured the concession stand had something for everyone. Shanna Nugent, Justin Nugent, Becky Gaynor, and Laura Duncan selflessly volunteered their time to run the concession stand.
This tournament, which began two years ago to support Dave Taylor during his cancer battle, has now evolved into an annual tradition that we are committed to preserving. Dave’s memory was honored by the presence of his wife (Jamie), sister (Georgia), and nephew (Mitchell) at this year’s event. Jamie also curated a basket for the silent auction featuring items from Dave’s Volkswagen memorabilia collection.
In every aspect, from the spirited softball action to the outpouring of support, the Dave Taylor Memorial Softball Tournament exemplified the power of a community coming together. It was a testament to the unity and generosity that defines Hancock County, reaffirming that in times of need, our community stands as one.
If you were unable to attend the event Saturday and want to contribute to Aiden and his family, please visit Independence Bank to donate directly to his account.
By Chelsea Boling