The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and Kevin Harvick Foundation today unveiled a synthetic turf youth baseball field in Vero Beach, Florida. Jake Owen Field, built in the hometown of the multi-award winning country music recording artist, will provide local youth with a clean, safe place to learn, play and grow.
Speakers for the ribbon cutting ceremony included Jake Owen; Cal Ripken, Jr., Baseball Hall of Famer and Ripken Foundation vice chairman; Kevin Harvick, 2014 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Champion and Kevin Harvick Foundation Co-Founder; Mayor Laura Moss, City of Vero Beach; Mark Butler, Chairman of Board of Directors, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation & President and CEO, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet; and Steve Salem, President and CEO, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.
During the ceremony, the Ripken Foundation dedicated the field to Owen with a plaque presentation, followed by an equipment donation to the Indian River Cal Ripken Baseball League.
“I have great memories of playing baseball as a kid with my twin brother, Jarrod. Growing up in Vero Beach, I never imagined that one day there would be a baseball field here with my name on it. I'm thankful for music being the creative outlet that got me to where I am today and what brought us all together. I'm also very grateful to my good friends Cal Ripken, Jr., Kevin Harvick and Mark Butler for dedicating this baseball field to me. I hope there will be many incredible memories made on this field and that the kids who play here will believe that anything is possible with the support of their community,” stated Jake Owen.
The synthetic turf baseball field includes a digital scoreboard, dugouts, backstop and bleachers. The park will be gifted to and maintained by the Indian River Sports Complex, with whom the Ripken Foundation and Harvick Foundation will work closely with to create and implement character education programming and clinics.
“It’s always special to team up with like-minded partners and give kids a safe place to play and just be kids,” said Ripken. “Jake and Kevin have been wonderful to work with and we look forward to collaborating on future projects to give kids across the nation the tools to succeed.”
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, youth from the Indian River Cal Ripken Baseball League participated in a Quickball Clinic on Jake Owen Field led by Ripken Foundation staff. Quickball is a fast-paced, easy to learn version of baseball.
“Jake has meant so much to the Kevin Harvick Foundation since DeLana and I founded it almost eight years ago,” said Harvick. “I’m honored we’re able to build this ballpark in his honor, which will give so many children in his hometown of Vero Beach a safe and clean environment to play ball.”
Jake Owen Field is the third collaboration between the Ripken Foundation and Kevin Harvick Foundation, having completed Kevin Harvick Foundation Park in Bakersfield, California (2016) and Greensboro, North Carolina (2015). The Vero Beach facility marks the Ripken Foundation’s 66th Youth Development Park across the country and fifth field operating in Florida.
About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (CRSF)
For the last 16 years, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has worked tirelessly to implement youth development program that directly address the problems facing at-risk youth in distressed communities across the country. Inspired by one of the most iconic baseball families, the Ripkens crated the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to honor the legacy of its family patriarch, longtime coach, and mentor, Cal Ripken, Sr. The Ripken Foundation uses sports-themed programs to bring police officers, youth partners and underserved kids ages 9 – 14 together on a level playing field to learn invaluable life skills.
In addition, the Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multi-purpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. In just six years, the Ripken Foundation has created 66 completed parks across the country in 20 states, impacting over 279,000 kids annually. In 2016, the Ripken Foundation impacted over 1.2 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park and mentor programs. For more information, visit www.RipkenFoundation.org. Follow us on Facebook & Twitter @CalRipkenSrFdn and Instagram @CalRipkenSrFoundation.
About Kevin Harvick Foundation
Established in 2010 by NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick and his wife, DeLana, the mission of the Kevin Harvick Foundation (KHF) is to support programs that positively enrich the lives of children throughout the United States. The foundation works to not only improve the quality of life, but to help underprivileged youth find and realize their dreams. To learn more about KHF, go to www.kevinharvickfoundation.org, follow on Twitter @TheKHFoundation or visit the KHF Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/KevinHarvickFoundation.