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Miracle League of Connecticut Celebrates Opening Day in West Hartford

From left: Miracle League of Connecticut Board President Meg Green, Peggy Crew of Great American Donut, Inc., Miracle League of Connecticut Executive Director Mike Michaud, Miracle League of Connecticut co-founder Scott Franklin, Ted Crew of Great American Donut, Inc., Miracle League of Connecticut board member Jon Slifka and Miracle League of Connecticut co-founder Ronit Shoham. Photo credit: Abigail Albair

The nonprofit recognizes Great American Donut, Inc. for years of support with honorary naming of the Miracle Field at the intersection of Trout Brook Drive and Asylum Avenue in West Hartford.

Members of the Farmington High School baseball team served as buddies for the first game of the day. Photo credit: Abigail Albair

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For Miracle League of Connecticut members, the field at the corner of Trout Brook Drive and Asylum Avenue in West Hartford will now be known as The Great American Ball Field.

The honor was announced at the beginning of the seventh official season’s Opening Day games Sunday, April 22.

A banner that will hang on the backstop was unveiled, recognizing Great American Donut, Inc., a Dunkin Donuts franchisee, for its incredible support since the idea for the Miracle League of Connecticut and the Miracle League Field in West Hartford, the first of its kind in New England, was conceived almost a decade ago.

Fundraising for the rubberized field — a wheelchair accessible surface designed for children with physical and cognitive challenges — began in 2008. The community came together to raise more than $800,000 to construct the field, an accessible playground, accessible restrooms and accessible concession facility at the West Hartford Little League complex. Construction began in 2011 and the field opened in June of 2012.

Since the beginning of the effort to make the field a reality, Great American Donut, Inc. has been an enthusiastic supporter. The largest Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee in Connecticut operating more than 50 Dunkin’ Donuts locations statewide, its owners Ted and Peggy Crew have long displayed a love for the Miracle League of Connecticut and its mission.

They were present on Sunday for the presentation of the banner, during which Miracle League of Connecticut Executive Director Mike Michaud also gave them each a plaque lauding their support.

“They took a leap of faith with us and put their faith in us that we could get this project done,” Michaud said, noting that the pair has been the biggest financial contributor to the Miracle League of Connecticut since it began, though what they’ve given is not limited to the financial.

“Their logistical support and advice means just as much as every dollar they’ve given us,” Michaud said.

Miracle League of Connecticut Board President Meg Green said recognizing Great American Donut with an honorary naming of the field was an easy decision.

“They have been tremendous in their support and we want to acknowledge them for all they’ve done for us from the beginning,” Green said.

For their part, the couple praised Michaud and his two co-founders of the Miracle League of Connecticut Scott Franklin and Ronit Shoham.

“We both love the kids and to see the parents watch their children play sports is just incredible,” Peggy Crew said.

This year, the Miracle League of Connecticut had such a great deal of interest from high school and collegiate teams looking to serve as “buddies” for league games that board member and volunteer chairperson Patrick Ladd wasn’t able to fit them all into the season. A total of 120 players are signed up this year, broken into seven teams that play each Sunday from now until mid-June.

The nonprofit organization has now joined with the East Lyme Parks and Recreation Department to build a Miracle League field on the school grounds of the Flanders Elementary School. The East Lyme contingent has chartered as The Miracle League of Southeastern Connecticut with the national Miracle League office.

“I’d just like to say that Peggy and I really feel blessed to be some small part of something that’s so helpful to kids and families. To think that three people who, none of them have kids with a disability, just said ‘If we can get this done we can really do a lot to help kids and families with different struggles,’ is incredible,” Ted Crew said. “We’re so happy to be a part of it. Now that there is another field that’s coming along and so many kids and families helped, that’s just amazing.”

For more information visit miracleleaguect.org.

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Miracle League Co-founder Ronit Shoham (pictured with Finn) of West Hartford regularly helps kids at bat on Sundays during the season. Photo credit: Abigail Albair

Heading to first base at the Miracle League of Connecticut opening day, April 22, 2018. Photo credit: Abigail Albair

Jackson at bat. Miracle League of Connecticut opening day, April 22, 2018. Photo credit: Abigail Albair

Playing catch on the Miracle League of Connecticut opening day, April 22, 2018. Photo credit: Abigail Albair

Sophia enjoys Miracle League of Connecticut opening day, April 22, 2018. Photo credit: Abigail Albair

At bat on Miracle League of Connecticut opening day, April 22, 2018. Photo credit: Abigail Albair

Enjoying time with a buddy in the dugout on Miracle League of Connecticut opening day, April 22, 2018. Photo credit: Abigail Albair

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