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'Cat's Court' to be dedicated

| Monday, July 29, 2013, 1:26 a.m.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Working on digging one of the 50 pole holes that will sustain the base of the courts are volunteers (from left) Greg Lincoln, Sam Cook, Leigh Ann Lincoln, Mike Connell and J.J. Fiesta.

Known for her infectious smile, bubbly personality and caring nature, Catherine Healy, 19, of Acme was considered by friends and family to be a truly remarkable young lady, looking forward to a life that promised a bright future.

Healy, affectionately known as Cat by all who knew her, died from injuries she suffered in an automobile accident on June 9.

A volleyball player for most of her life, members of the Connellsville Parks and Recreation Board did not hesitate when they were approached with the idea of naming the new courts at Mountz Creek Park in memory of Healy.

“The rec board gave the idea the go-ahead, and I think that it's a great idea,” volunteer Sam Cook said of the courts being named for the young athlete. “It's a good way to bring community awareness to situations like that. This is an opportunity to turn a horrible tragedy into a learning experience, while also giving kids something to do.”

The courts will sport a stone marker that states “Cat's Court” and will have a welcome sign.

“We are going to put the sign here in the corner so it can be seen from both roads (Cummings Avenue and North Second Street),” recreation board member Greg Lincoln said. “The base will be made out of the stone that was left over from when the Castle (East Park) project was done, so it's being recycled and used here.”

A dedication of the courts will begin at 4 p.m. Aug. 10. Healy will be recognized, and scrimmage tribute games will follow between Healy's former team from Penn State Erie Campus and the team from Penn State Fayette, the Eberly Campus.

“She loved volleyball,” Holly Healy said of her daughter. “She played since she was in seventh grade.”

Healy said one of the reasons her daughter excelled on the court is that during a game, she would channel her energy.

“I taught her that when you are hit with obstacles in life, you take it to the courts,” Healy said. “She not only did that, but she taught others to do that.”

Catherine Healy's friends had a special service for her after the accident, showing how much she was respected and admired.

“She was such an influential person in high school,” Holly Healy said. “Then she took that to Penn State with her.”

Healy said that she and Cat's father George Appel were thrilled and touched when they were told the volleyball courts would be named for their daughter. They were also happy that the courts would be used to promote team play.

“It's so important in life to be a part of a team,” Healy said. “You make instant friends; instant girlfriends; and you all learn to work together.”

Healy volunteered with the construction of the courts on Saturday. She said she is looking forward to the dedication.

“I think this is going to be awesome,” Healy said. “It's bittersweet. Definitely bittersweet. But there is nothing like this around here anywhere, and I am sure that Cat is looking down on us.”

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