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Cat's Courts volleyball facility in Connellsville offers touching tribute

| Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Friends Andrew Sparks, 19, Tori Martucci, 20, and Caitlin Onusko, 19, were instrumental in getting the volleyball courts at Mountz Creek Park in Connellsville dedicated to their friend, Catherine “Cat” Healy, who died in a June automobile accident.
Come of Catherine “Cat” Healy’s teammates and friends attended the dedication of Cat's Courts at Mountz Creek Park in Connellsville, played in a scrimmage and wore their memory bands in her honor. From left are Ashley Solo, 19, of Irwin; Nathan Steele, 21 of Cranberry Township; Courtney Hopson, 19, of Erie; and Tory Storino, 21, of Pittsburgh.

Celebrating the memory of a young woman's whose life touched all who knew her, hundreds gathered Aug. 10 at Mountz Creek Park in Connellsville to dedicate the newly built volleyball courts to Catherine “Cat” Healy of Bear Rocks, who died tragically in June from injuries she suffered in an automobile accident.

“All who reside in Connellsville will know these courts as a tribute to a young lady who lost her life way too soon in a tragic accident,” Connellsville recreation board secretary Greg Lincoln said.

The courts were spearheaded by the board and Connellsville resident Sam Cook, whose desire to see usable courts led to the building of the two regulation courts in the park.

“These courts will pay for themselves in no time and will be an asset to the recreation board and the city for many years to come,” Cook said, adding that they have interest from leagues that wish to utilize the new courts. “There is nothing like this from Morgantown to Greensburg. This is just great.”

After Healy was killed, friends of hers approached the recreation board about including her in the dedication, since she had played volleyball for many years and had voiced her desire to see a set of courts built in the city for leagues to use.

“She would have loved this,” friend Andrew Sparks, 19, said of Healy.

Sparks was one of the people who approached the board and was thrilled not only with their desire to build the courts but with their suggestion of naming it for Healy.

“I'm ashamed to say that I never heard of the group before this, but what they have done here today is awesome,” Sparks said.

Healy was also an organ donor, and her act of selflessness did not go unnoticed at the event.

“This was such a tragic event, but it is good to see something positive come out of it,” friend Tori Martucci, 20, said.

Sparks said Healy was a passenger in the one-car accident, which was alcohol-related, that claimed her life.

“It's a positive opportunity that came from something tragic, and she has taught us to live in the light,” Sparks said. “She gave the gift of life, and she did it so selflessly, and from this we must learn that driving under the influence should never be an option.”

Balloons were released at the end of the dedication, and a group of Healy's friends sang the national anthem.

Healy was slated to play collegiate volleyball at Penn State Behrend campus in Erie, and teammates came and played a scrimmage game in her honor.

“She would have really liked these courts,” said friend Tory Storino, 21, of Pittsburgh. “I just wish that she was here with us today to play.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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