SYAA thanks those who helped

Published 7:36 pm Saturday, November 29, 2014

To the editor:

Suffolk Youth Athletic Association experienced a break-in to its concession stand in October. We thank the Suffolk Police Department for its swift and thorough action, leading to the early detention of the miscreants. Within 48 hours, SYAA was being inundated with offers to help. We wish to thank everyone who came to our assistance.

Imagine the despair of the volunteers that run the concession stand at Suffolk Youth Athletic Association when they saw the result of a break-in a few weeks ago. Equipment was stolen or damaged and food was smeared on the walls and floors. Every door was kicked in. A safe containing money that had been raised for a family in need was ripped out and stolen.

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Our concession managers volunteer hundreds of hours every year catering to our youth and their families and produce valuable income to the association. They and the rest of the SYAA volunteers were devastated by the destruction. SYAA would have to stop the sale of food for the rest of the season because of the extent of the damage.

This was a low point for the people who give so much, so willingly, to the citizens of Suffolk and the surrounding counties.

How quickly despair can turn to elation. Out of the blue, individuals and organizations were sending us checks to cover the loss of the money raised for the family. Others were making donations to SYAA. Local businesses offered to set up a temporary concession stand for the rest of the season, providing all the food and drink at no cost, with SYAA retaining all the profits.

Such generosity was the best possible medicine for all of SYAA. It let the SYAA volunteers know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated and the rest of the season was tackled with renewed energy.

We wish to applaud Chick-fil-A; Moe’s Southwest Grill; Food Lion; Great Neck Pony Baseball League; Pieter Reidy and the many individuals who made extra donations to the family in need; Carts Unlimited, Sluggers and Apex Tools for donating prizes to a fundraising raffle; and the Suffolk Police Department.

SYAA wishes to thank every supporter in the community.

SYAA is a part of the fabric of Suffolk. Offering a youth sports program since 1981, SYAA has grown to provide for 1,900 registered players a year in baseball, softball, soccer and field hockey. Everything is run by volunteers.

SYAA owns and maintains it own facility, putting no burden on our local tax dollars. Its ability to grow and upgrade the facilities would be impossible without the constant support of local businesses and charitable foundations and individuals.

We continue to promote the same values the organization was founded upon — open registration, equal playing opportunity, fair play in a fun atmosphere, while teaching respect between all participants, coaches, officials and spectators.

Best of all, we were finally able to give a check to the family for several times the amount that SYAA had originally raised, thanks to our generous friends, neighbors and area ball clubs.

Geoff Payne

SYAA Board