by Brian Manning
WALSENBURG — Michael and Sandra Vigil are tireless volunteers who oversee a league with eight baseball teams that keeps a lot of children busy. They helped established Southern League Baseball which has about 100 young players.
When they organized the league, they made sure it was chartered so they could play regionally. Sandra does the paperwork, coaches, and helps set up equipment for the games. Most of the 30-35 volunteer coaches are parents of players. The volunteer umpires are high school students or recent graduates who come out for the love of the game.
The teams are divided into five leagues depending on ages which range from six to 15. A Cal Ripken league travels as far as Denver to compete state-wide. The 100 children in the program all have uniforms and hats funded through participation fees. If a child can’t afford it, the fee is waived.
The Southern League also makes money through the concession stand at the park and private donations. For example, recently a local trucking company donated $1,200 to the league. The money pays for uniforms, insurance and the trophies every player receives at the end of the season in July.
When I met the Vigils, they were both busy preparing for the evening games. He was painting lines on the field and getting equipment ready, and she was carrying boxes of gear and coordinating players. They never slowed down.
The Vigils have been together for 25 years, have four children, and celebrate their anniversaries on the ball field. Michael is the head volleyball coach at John Mall High School where he also is assistant coach for basketball and football. He also works for CDOT in Walsenburg.
They are motivated both by the children and by their love of the game. They like to see kids growing up healthy with the values that come from participating in team sports. Many parents watch the games and their support and attendance is extremely important to the children.
The Vigils and the parents who participate make this program possible. Counting games and practices, Michael and Sandra Vigil contribute at least four days a week. They should be commended for their dedicated work in helping our youth.
Who do you think is an outstanding volunteer in Huerfano County? We’d like to know! Call us at 738-1415 and tell us who you think deserves to be profiled.