Six years ago yesterday, Kevin Hammersmith was killed in car crash on Indiana 111. I’ll never forget hearing the sad news from a high school friend, which in that weirdest of modern twists came to me via Facebook.
Kevin’s philanthropic endeavors are the stuff of local legend, and they will be for years to come. It is my firm belief that in his eagerness to be of assistance to the community, he far transcended expectations in terms of his job, something which testifies eloquently to his bedrock sense of self, of purpose, and of social obligation in the noblest of old-fashioned applications. He did it because he meant it. If any one person in this city deserves a statue, it’s Kevin, although he’d roll his eyes and squirm at the suggestion.
I haven’t backed away from the statue suggestion, although perhaps an amphitheater plaque and a ballpark are enough. The photos above, courtesy of New Albany Township Little League, reveal Kevin Hammersmith Memorial Park off Charlestown Road, obviously close to being ready for a 2018 debut.
It had better be ready, given that on Monday, November 27, the Harritt Group will be auctioning off the components of New Albany Little League’s longtime home on Mt. Tabor Road: Little League Ballpark Equipment Auction.
There’ll be understandable worries as the final build-out progresses toward spring, but the new complex is a done deal. Naturally, there are 1,001 relevant “could have, should have, would have” discussions about such a facility, ranging from its auto-centric location to proper funding, and not excluding the perpetual city-county turf war, which often reads suspiciously like the script of the film Duck Soup by the Marx Brothers.
However, if these baseball fields must be, then I’m happy they’re dedicated to Kevin Hammersmith.
You’re missed, my friend.