HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE, Calif. – For consecutive Saturdays beginning late last month, waitresses in the Greenview restaurant and bartenders at Mulligan's Bar in Hidden Valley Lake have donated their tips to a program to rebuild two buildings at Hartmann Field and Little League ballpark destroyed in a Nov. 9 fire.
HVL's Stone Fire Pizza turned over a check from a fundraiser for rebuilding a snack shack and an equipment storage facility that, according to Little League President Phil Mascari, “was just amazing.”
Hardester's Market has a continuing “Round Up Your Change” program to which customers donate and will match proceeds from the program up to $2,500.
Companies and individuals from as far away as Sebastapol have donated funds since the fire, the origin of which is still under investigation, according to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Greg Bertelli.
And the league's 15 board members are putting together a Feb. 15 “Monte Carlo Night” dance and silent auction and a “50-50” raffle at the league's opener in March in which the holder of the winning ticket will receive half the proceeds with the other half going to the rebuilding fund.
Added together, this variety of fundraisers is indicative of a community that is intent on making stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.
Mascari said he was shocked when the two buildings burned down.
“We lost everything, but you know tragedies can be a blessing,” he added. “This is going to help us rebuild even better. That's kind of our motto right now. We're taking a positive approach to it. We can't dwell on it; we have to move forward.”
The amount targeted for the fundraising is $20,000.
“But that will be for equipment lost in the fire only,” Mascari said. “It does not include rebuilding the buildings. We're working with the (HVL) association on that.”
Originally, the snack shack was owned by the Little League, but was located at Middletown High School. Later, the HVL Homeowners Association took ownership.
“Now we're going to figure out what to do,” said Mascari.
He added that the rebuilding issue will be on the Dec. 12 HVL Association board meeting agenda and “We'll go forward from there.”
Equipping 15 teams and restoring the park to its condition before the fire is indeed an expensive proposition requiring a hefty output.
The HVL baseball park is by no means a run-of-the-mill facility. The HVL community prided itself on upgrading the park to the point that it has become a model for District 53 Little League.
“Some of the things we've accomplished have made it a park that is looked up to now,” said Mascari. “It used to be that we would always have to travel for Tournament of Champions (TOC) and all stars competition. But we're hosting all star games and TOC here now.”
The all star and TOC events will be played at HVL for the third year in a row this year. It will bring teams from Vallejo, East Vallejo, American Canyon and St. Helena to HVL.
What's most needed now for the rebuilding of the Little League park are cash donations, and items for the Feb. 15 silent auction.
Cash donations can be sent to Middletown Cobb Little League, P.O. Box 1024, Middletown, CA 95461.
Kristi Watson, fundraiser coordinator, is collecting the silent auction items. She can be reached by phone at 707-355-0154.
Mascari, a resident of Cobb, is well positioned to head up the fundraising campaign. He has coached Little League for more than 30 years, the last four in HVL.
His two grandsons, who play in the HVL Little League, are third-generation Little Leaguers. Mascari, himself, was a Little Leaguer in upstate New York.
“I coached my son, starting with tee ball,” he said. “He's 34 now.”
Mascari said he is not surprised by the galvanizing in the HVL, Middletown and Cobb regions in support of the rebuilding program.
“I've lived here for eight years,” he said. “It's a tight community.”
Email John Lindblom at email@example.com .