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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Appalachian League announced that the Bluefield Ridge Runners have been named the recipient of the 2022 Lee Landers Community Service Award. The Lee Landers Community Service Award is presented to the club that demonstrates an outstanding, ongoing commitment to charitable service, support and leadership within their local community and within the baseball industry.
The staff of the Bluefield Ridge Runners has contributed $259,307 in cash and in-kind services through July 31, along with 866 hours to various community organizations. The Ridge Runners participated in Project Graduation, charity car shows, concerts, food drives and flood relief efforts. The Ridge Runners have also contributed to community organizations such as Rotary International, the Chamber of the Two Virginia’s, Sacred Heart Catholic Church Food Bank, Bluefield Area Little League, the Union Mission, the annual Mountain Festival, the Bluefield Restoration Committee and the Bluefield Beautification Committee.
“The Bluefield Ridge Runners are honored to be presented the Lee Landers Community Service Award for 2022,” said Ridge Runners general manager Rocky Malamisura. “The receipt of this award affirms the efforts of the club to be an integral part of the surrounding community.”
This season, Ridge Runners players volunteered a recorded 370 hours in the community at places like food pantries to reading programs and autograph sessions. Two baseball camps were provided by the Ridge Runners at no cost to the participants, which allowed more than 70 children to benefit from these camps. The Bluefield Club also participated in the Play Ball initiative with area Little Leagues and Vet Tix.
ThAdditionally, Ridge Runners catcher Parker Redden (Delaware) was named the Appalachian League Humanitarian of the Year. When the Ridge Runners were in town, Redden drove approximately 35 miles each way to volunteer at Freedom Farms, a nonprofit, faith-based organization for at-risk youth in West Virginia.
“It is especially satisfying to uphold the values of the award’s namesake Mr. Lee Landers,” Malamisura added. “Service before self is a trademark of what we value here with the Ridge Runners. Our staff, coaches, players and patrons strive to give back to the community that has itself given so much to us.”
Lee Landers served as the Appalachian League president from 1996-2018 and passed away May 17, 2021. Lee always placed others first and encouraged all clubs and staff to become involved and give back to their communities. Lee’s involvement over the years included: Roman Cultural Society, Jaycees, Police Benevolent Association, D.A.R.E, Senior Olympics Board, Baseball Chapel, American Heart Association and Springfield Chamber of Commerce.