Donald I. Gurney Day celebrates Springfield athletics

Donald I. Gurney.  Photo Provided
Donald I. Gurney.
Photo Provided

 

SHS senior Matilda Caldwell sings the national anthem.  Photo Provided
SHS senior Matilda Caldwell sings the national anthem.
Photo Provided

 

Don Gurney Jr throws out the first pitch for the day, caught by his younger brother Brad Gurney.  Photo Provided
Don Gurney Jr throws out the first pitch for the day, caught by his younger brother Brad Gurney.
Photo Provided

 

Closing candle light ceremony. Photo Provided
Closing candle light ceremony.
Photo Provided

 

The Gurney Calliope. What wonderful music! Photo by Donna Allen
The Gurney Calliope. What wonderful music!
Photo by Donna Allen

 

The Springfield High School Softball and Baseball teams arrive at the field.  Photo by Donna Allen
The Springfield High School Softball and Baseball teams arrive at the field.
Photo by Donna Allen

 

 

BY DONNA ALLEN

The Shopper

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – On Saturday, May 14, 2006, the Springfield Booster Club kicked off the First Annual Donald I. Gurney, Sr. Field Day: a celebration of Springfield Athletics. The day began with a parade through Springfield that ended at Riverside Middle School. Each and every baseball and softball team rode in a vehicle with cheers from the crowds along the parade route.

Bob Flint was the speaker at the ‘Opening Ceremonies’. SHS senior Matilda Caldwell sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. As she finished three planes presented a fly over. All three pilots are members of the soaring club at Hartness Airport, New England Soaring Association. The three pilots were:

Mackenzie Campbell in the maroon and white high-wing Cessna.

Alasdair Crawford, current president of the soaring club, was flying Walter’s Pawnee, the white low-wing airplane that the soaring club uses as a tow plane.

Mark Jacob flew the big, shiny, noisy twin engine Beech 18.

The first pitch thrown out by Don Gurney, Jr. as the rest of the Gurney family watched.

As the day progressed, Springfield Athletes K-12 played softball and baseball games: all day games, 28 teams from T-ball through Varsity entertained the huge crowds.

Those who have known Don Gurney know how much of an impact on Springfield Sports he had. Many don’t realize that he was the founder of the Springfield Booster Club. Donald lrvine Gurney Sr. passed away in October 2015. This day was a way for the town to thank and remember him.

Don Gurney was very community-oriented and proud of his hometown Springfield, Vermont. He was active in Rotary and a member of the Boy Scouts of America, serving on their Executive Board of Directors. He was a co-founder and the first president of the SHS booster club; he helped found the Vermont chapter of the Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) and served as its president. He served for 13 years on the Springfield School Board and served for 3 years as a town selectman. He was the founder of the Springfield Regional Development Corporation (SRDC) and was the first recipient of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, “Citizen of the Year.” He served on the Springfield Hospital Board. He was inducted into the 2013 Springfield Alumni Association Hall of Fame.

He worked for Bishop Farms in 1953, and then went to work for IBM from 1954-57. In April of 1957, he and his brother, Gordon (Sam), started Gurney Brothers Construction Inc. Don remained working at Gurney Brothers well past his retirement and was still working on few projects up until the time of his death. Today, Gurney Brothers Construction is still family owned and in the hands of Doug, Dan and Brad Gurney

The day closed with a candlelight ceremony in honor of Donald I. Gurney. Thank you to Donald I. Gurney for all you have done for Springfield and to all who helped make this a perfect day.

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