FIREBAUGH, June 23, 2018 – Today the local baseball community gathered along with residents, community leaders and the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF) to celebrate the dedication of Dunkle Baseball Field at Dunkle Park in Firebaugh, Calif.
Approximately one and a half years ago, Class 46 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP), committed to the service project in the rural town of Firebaugh. The area has experienced significant effects of the drought. To a community with limited resources, Class 46 pledged to provide baseball field improvements for its Little League. The baseball field required tending—bleachers were removed and replaced and the facility was repainted to restore it for future years. The project was completed with private funds generously donated by individuals and businesses from the statewide agricultural community.
Dunkle Field was built in 1948 as World War II veterans returned home. There wasn’t a community field at the time in the rural town of Firebaugh. Through the hard work and generosity of local veterans, the field was completed and has served as the foundation for family gatherings, community and sporting events and most recently, the Cal Ripken Little League. In 1999, American singer and songwriter, Kenny Rogers used Dunkle Field to film his music video single “The Greatest.” Many of the spectators featured in the video were residents of Firebaugh.
“Class 46’s community project demonstrates the heart of the Ag Leadership Program which is to develop leaders in the agricultural sector through leadership training and transformational learning experiences,” said Barry Bedwell, president of CALF. “Class 46 identified a community in need and executed a plan which will now serve the city of Firebaugh and its residents as a gathering place for decades to come.”
Today’s ceremony was held during the Championship District Tournament for the Minor’s Division of the Cal Ripken Little League. After the brief ceremony, Class 46 was pleased to celebrate the dedication ceremony by serving an all-American barbecued hotdog dinner.
Ag Leadership is considered to be one of the premier leadership development programs in the United States. Since it was first delivered in 1970, more than 1,300 men and women have participated in the program and have become influential leaders and active volunteers in the agriculture industry and other areas.