Unwavering work with Little League

Volunteer extraordinaire Simmons to be honored at Fenway Park

MVHS cheering coach earns volunteer of year award for Maine
By Mark Haskell | Jul 25, 2018
Courtesy of: Simmons family Heather and Keith Simmons of Friendship.

Friendship — Most community members would recognize Heather Simmons as the Medomak Valley High School cheering coach as she has been instrumental in many recent topnotch seasons for the Panthers.

However, Simmons, perhaps, said it best.

“I wear a lot of hats,” she said.

And it is her multitasking and organizational skills — in this instance, for Medomak Valley Little League — that earned her the distinction of this year’s Maine Little League Volunteer of the Year Award winner.

Simmons, for her work in Little League, will get the call to the big leagues as she will be honored in a ceremony at Fenway Park on Sunday, July 29 in Boston, Mass. prior to the Red Sox’s home game with the Minnesota Twins — on Maine Day.

To say she was surprised to hear the news would be an understatement.

“I didn’t even know that was a thing,” she said.

Simmons is the co-player agent, secretary and treasurer for Medomak Valley Little League. She also does similar work within the Waldoboro/Friendship league, which is essentially one of the minor leagues of MVLL. Within the MVLL parameters, most minor league and tee ball-aged teams are run by the individual towns.

“There isn’t anybody that deserves it more than Heather,” said Medomak Valley Little League president Chris Donlin, who nominated Simmons for the award. “Heather isn’t just a volunteer. She’s literally 9/10s of the program. She does everything [and] she prepares everything. Not that we don’t all try, but it’s just in her nature to say, ‘This is the next thing we have to do.’ She’s everything to the board.”

Donlin added, “To say she volunteers would be to say Michael Jordan plays basketball. She is driven, organized and efficient. She’s remarkable."

Simmons said, “I think it’s important to give back to the community” and “we have a great group of board members and volunteers and coaches that make it all work.”

“I can’t take all the credit myself, but it was very nice to see Chris recognize how much I had done,” she said. “At times you have a lot on your plate, and no one sees all the behind-the-scenes stuff. They just show up to a game and all the food’s ready to eat and the field’s ready to go. Sometimes it falls on deaf ears, but it really does take a community of people to organize all that.”

Simmons has been involved in MVLL (previously Waldoboro Little League) since 2012. She said she and others associated with MVLL have been at Hadlock Field — the Double-A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox in Portland — for various fundraisers and to get pictures taken on the field, but nothing like this.

“This is a big deal to go to Fenway,” she said. “Keith and I have probably been to 30 games [at Fenway Park] and usually when you see those people [on the field before games] they’re veterans or people that have a pretty cool story.”

Keith is Heather's husband and longtime youth sports coach in the area.

Simmons is allowed to bring one family member on the field with her. It will not be one of her two kids, instead, it will be her husband, Keith.

“I wouldn’t be doing this without him. We’ve been on this together and he does just as much work as I do. More in the coaching capacity, but that’s where he’d rather be.”

Simmons said, should the opportunity present itself while on the field, she would love to rub elbows with either Mookie Betts or Joe Kelly — but she is not picky.

“I’m probably going to be starstruck,” she said. “Every time we go to a game we wait for those players to pull out with their cars and hope maybe we’ll get someone to sign something.”

And, while this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many, she plans to make the most of it.

“Maybe I can steal some dirt,” she said. “Just so I can have proof to say I was on the field at Fenway Park.”

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