Murrysville-Export Rotary honors officials who pushed field for special-needs athletes

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Baseball players will be cheered on while cracking bats and rounding bases at Murrysville's Miracle Field this summer.

But many worked quietly behind the scenes to create the field for athletes with special needs.

The Murrysville-Export Rotary, which spearheaded the project, last week honored three municipal officials who worked to complete the field.

Bob Bell, Mark Haugh and Jim Morrison each received the group's prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award, which recognizes people who give back to their community.

Harold Hicks, the Murrysville-Export Rotary president, said the men were chosen because of what they gave toward the Miracle Field.

“They did a lot of work behind the scenes and on their own time,” Hicks said. “With their help, we were able to do a really good job.”

The Bill Mazeroski Miracle Field opened in fall 2012 after more than six years of planning and fundraising. More than 85 athletes, ages 5 to 63, have played games there.

“It fills your heart with pride and fills your eyes with tears,” said Bob Bell, director of public works and parks. “To be able to do this for them, that makes every day worthwhile.”

Bell and about 12 other men in the department prepared the land for contractors. The men also completed infrastructure needs, including electric conduits and water lines.

Bell said all of the men took pride in their part of the project. He said one spent weekends clearing debris off the field before games.

“That's the kind of dedication we have in this department,” he said. “The guys wanted to do it.”

The field features a rubberized surface that enables players to get around bases. The complex includes walking trails and a basketball court.

Mark Haugh, engineering technician, was in charge of construction on the complex. Even during the winter, Haugh was out at the field digging holes or completing other necessary construction tasks.

“It started as part of our job and we approached it the same way we approach everything,” Haugh said. “But it was a special project and it's neat to see the kids having enjoyment in their lives.”

As the project neared completion, Jim Morrison, Murrysville chief administrator, advertised it to attract players. He helped the Rotary to secure competitive grants.

“They certainly did all the hard work,” Morrison said of the Rotary. “They raised the money and got volunteers. All we did was help them make their dream come true.”

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or

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