Hundreds gathered Sunday in Coaldale as the Complex field was renamed the Thomas "Doc" RaymerJoseph "Chappy" Sharpe Memorial Park in honor of two men Mayor John J. Radocha remembered as helping 'to shape the lives of the youth of Coaldale."
C.H.O.S.E. sponsored the event to raise public awareness of the importance of those two men for that reason. The field was selected as the site for a memorial because in addition to many other civic services, Raymer coached the Coaldale Tigers who played their home football games on that field and Sharpe started the C.H.O.S.E. organization in 1956.
The community chose to recognize that dedication as residents, ages 8 through 80, assisted David Hnat in the construction of a memorial. Hnat said the project took about two months to complete as the work was done by volunteers whenever they had the time.
The borough workers and local service organization were also recognized as major contributors of service in the project.
C.H.O.S.E. President Nancy Pascoe served as mistress of ceremonies for the program which was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance led by the Coaldale Boy Scouts. Remarks by Pascoe and the mayor followed.
Greg Malaska of State Representative David Argall's office presented a citation from the House of Representatives acknowledging the event.
Former Coaldale resident Mike Panchura was on hand as "a student of Tom Raymer and one of the first to benefit when his Uncle Chappy started C.H.O.S.E." He commended the committee on making "the right decision" in honoring the men.
Sharpe's widow, Mary, remarked on what a "wonderful husband" he was in addition to being a "great father and grandfather." She said "he would be very pleased to know this was dedicated in his name."
The final comments of the program were made by Sharpe"s son, Robert, who is a teacher in a suburb of Washington, D.C. He noted he is currently about the age his father was when starting C.H.O.S.E. and "I"m beginning to appreciate more and more how important it is to do for kids, it really pays off.' Sharpe concluded, 'It"s great to see after almost 40 years, my father's work still continues."
And the events did continue, in the field, as the 16th annual mini-olympics commenced for children of the Panther Valley-Tamaqua area. Operated in conjunction with the Tamaqua Jaycees, 110 children from ages 2 through 13 were registered to participate in a series of track and field events.
Tots were awarded in two events by age. Overall winners in the dash were Karoline Vavra, 2; Carly Markovich, 3; and Nathan McHugh, 4. Champion ball throwers were Michael Streisel, 2; Scott Neitz, 3; and Jason Harrison, 4.
The top three boys and girls of the other age groups received medals.
Recipients of gold, silver and bronze medals, respectively, among the 4 and a half to 5-year-olds were: boys, Justin Roberts, Aaron Tucker, and Michael Kabana; and girls, Amanda Terray, Allysa Vavra, and Karlie Knepper.
Mdalists ages 6 and 7: boys, Ryan Gilbert, Matthew Price and Joshua Montalevo; and girls, Tiffany Zak, Kayla Poluka, and Cynthia Hassler.
Nathan Oldt, Zachary Kattner, and Justin Lare led the 8 and 9-year-old boys while Julie Harrison, Dorothy Ann Terray, and Elizabeth Watkins won for the girls.
Medalists for the 10 and 11-year-old age group included boys: Brandon Schippers, Ryan Hnat, and Phillip Zak; and girls, Nicole Evans, Stephanie Gardiner, and Shannon Montalevo.
There were only two medals won by 12 and 13-year-old boys. Ryan Fisher won the gold and Jonathan Seekins got the silver. All three medals were won by girls of the same age group and awarded to Lacey Gonzalez, Leanne Poluka, and Holly Garrett.
In addition, each child received a certificate for participating and Tom Davis of Coaldale provided enough cups, Frisbees, and hats to see that each participant also received a small gift.