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Vanderbilt volunteers working to restore Tri-Town league

| Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Coaches and players alike worked on the Trojan football field on Saturday, rebuilding the bleachers and giving them a nice coat of paint. Working away are Gage Ross, 6; Chad Jesko, 8; Lonzy Vielma, 6; Larry Murphy, 7; and Savannah Murphy 10.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Coaches and players alike worked on the Trojan football field on Saturday, rebuilding the bleachers and giving them a nice coat of paint. Working away are Gage Ross, 6; Chad Jesko, 8; Lonzy Vielma, 6; Larry Murphy, 7; and Savannah Murphy 10.

A group of volunteers and parents from Vanderbilt have decided that tradition was something worth saving, so they are now concentrating on doing what they can to revive the Tri-Town Football League, since participation in the league has been waning in recent years.

“It's 35 years of tradition,” assistant coach Chad Jesko said of the league that was restarted in 1979 after being discontinued for eight years. “We want to make this nice for the kids to enjoy and for the community.”

A group of parents approached Vanderbilt Borough Council in June, asking for support to give the Tri-Town Trojan football field and bleachers a much-needed face-lift.

“They (council members) have been very supportive of us because I believe that they know we are really interested in getting this done,” parent and coach Alonzo Vielma said.

The league received a $500 donation from council for the upgrades.

“We want to make a difference,” Vielma said.

Over the past few years, the Tri-Town league, which is part of the Connellsville Booster Football league, has experienced low numbers, with sign-ups for the three divisions at a low.

“Last year we had maybe 30 kids overall,” Vielma said. “They were bringing up our little guys to play in the other games to have enough.”

On Saturday, the volunteers began to paint the bleachers and inventory equipment used for the season.

“We had some great support for this project,” Jesko said, and said that, in addition to council, Connellsville Slovak Club and Bryner Lumber contributed to the project. “We want to thank them and everyone else who helped with this.”

Although the field was in poor shape in previous years because of quad usage there, the coaches said increased policing has decreased the damage.

“You should have seen this field before,” Jesko said. “It was in really bad shape.”

In addition, the field will be receiving a portable toilet, and Vielma said the group intends to paint the playground equipment adjacent to the field, in the community area.

“Council said that they have the money for the paint but not the manpower to do the painting,” Vielma said. “We are planning to have some type of community day with the whole team pitching in to get the work done. It will be just a small way of our saying thank you.”

Vielma said the group is now actively fundraising, and in addition to needed money for league and equipment usage, they want to plan field trips for the team to attend high school football games and other events.

“I really think that the kids would like doing things like that as a group,” Vielma said. “It would almost be like a big family.”

The Tri-Town Football League volunteers will be at the Italian Festival at the Fayette County Fairgrounds, from Aug. 23-25, with a fundraising booth for the group.

Sign-ups for the league will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 20, 27 and Aug. 3.

Parents must bring the registration fee of $30, copy of birth certificate and insurance card. Call 724-984-4382, 724-322-6039 or email for more information.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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