By Jennifer Lane, Hardin County Independent
Before the softball games began Friday, July 17, a ceremony was held to name the Rosiclare ball field in honor of Rosiclare Softball League coordinator Richard Williams. The new field name “Williams Field” was a surprise to the long time coordinator of over 43 years! The idea of naming the field in honor of Williams has been in the works for about nine months. At home one night after watching a Rosiclare Softball League game, Mike and Tena Burton were discussing how much work Williams has put into the the league over the years. They felt that the field should be named after him and took the idea to Mayor Roy Tolbert and the city commission. When the commission approved the idea, Burton purhcased the materials needed for the project and asked if the Hardin County Work Camp could help him out with the fabrication of the sign. The Alan Jackson Building Trades Program at the Hardin County Work Camp took on the job. This program allows inmates to get good time for learning electrical woodworking projects and build houses for Habitat for Humanity. They also complete numerous other building projects (bird houses or doll houses) that are donated for fundraising to different non-profit organizations. The goal was to surprise Williams, so a story had to be made up. Williams was told that inmates at the Hardin County Work Camp could repaint the current scoreboard sign to help with upkeep at the league. Williams thought that was a good idea, so, with the help of the Hardin County Work Camp inmate crew along with City of Rosiclare workers, the task was accomplished. It took three days of man hours to complete the “Williams Field” wooden sign by the inmate crew in the building trades program. The inmates stained the boards and routered out the letters in the sign, raising them up and painting them bright yellow. Rosiclare City Workers, Andy Atkinson, Billy Moore, Eddie Reed and citizen Terry Angleton along with Correctional Officer Brian Banks, Road Crew Lieutenant Mike Burton, Building Trades Program Director Alan Jackson and the inmate crew erected the sign at the field, picked up trash, mowed and weedeated in preparation for the unveiling ceremony. At the ceremony, Coach Mike Burton called for all coaches present to walk onto the field. He honored Williams by thanking him for his service on and off the field for kids in the community over the past 43 years. Williams has been dedicated to his role as coordinator. He has put many hours in at the Rosiclare ball park. He is there at all games making sure that the field is ready — this year being an extra challenge with the record amount of rain the area has seen. He is either behind the plate or in the field at each game. This year alone he has been there for 120 games. When the sign was unveiled Williams was surprised, tearing up with the honor. Williams’ family brought cake to feed over 100 people. Everyone ate cake and took pictures of Williams with the new sign. After the ceremony, games went on as usual, but now on a field with a new name… “Williams Field”.
Williams will be featured this Friday night, August 7, 2015 on WSIL TV 3 as the “Unsung Hero”.