Although the weather was unseasonably cold, a spirit of gratitude warmed the hearts of the more than 100 people who attended the Sunday dedication of Patriots Park at Peaceful Valley, home of Heidelberg’s baseball team.
The memorial, a gift from the Lowe Family Foundation, pays tribute to all branches of the military as well as soldiers who are missing in action. “It is a great reminder of the freedoms we enjoy every day,” said HU 14th-year baseball coach Matt Palm. “It’s something that can unite us all.”
Bob and Julie Lowe of Naples, Fla., parents of two sons who have played baseball for Heidelberg (Andy, ’11, and Teddy, a current senior), wanted the memorial to serve as a symbol of appreciation for all veterans.
“They are our true heroes,” said Bob, himself a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. “We are able, in this country, to conduct business, raise our families, go to church. The U.S military protects our rights to do all of these things.”
And to play baseball. Bob said the family wanted the memorial to create a memory in which the Heidelberg team could share pride and camaraderie. Every team member participated in its construction last fall. Additionally, the memorial provides a place for families to come to honor veterans.
“Finally, we want to make it apparent to all students and all athletes that serving our country is an honorable thing.”
One future veteran is the Lowes’ son, Teddy, a senior pitcher who plans an Air Force career in his father’s footsteps. He, too, hopes the memorial inspires other student-athletes to consider military service.
Tiffin City Councilman Jim Roberts, who represents the First Ward where Heidelberg sits as well as the United Veterans Council, said the memorial will give a boost not only to veterans who visit but also to the community. “It’s a beautiful setting,” he said. “There aren’t words to describe what (the Lowes) have done for Heidelberg and the Tiffin community. This is a real honor.” Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz echoed those sentiments.
President Rob Huntington expressed the appreciation of the Heidelberg community for the gift from the Lowe family, “not just financially, but in time, passion and energy.”
“Our family is richer because the Lowe family is here,” the president said.
Fourteen members of the Lowe family attended the dedication. “We all believe in the (baseball) program,” Bob said. “We love Coach Palm and his family. We just hope to make a little bit of a difference and we hope folks will enjoy this.”
The United Veterans Council and the Bowling Green State University ROTC presented colors for the dedication. At the conclusion, the ROTC unit fired a cannon and a UVC member performed “Taps.” Heidelberg junior and music major Darcianne Allen performed the “National Anthem” and led the singing of “God Bless America.” Also participating in the dedication was Manchester University baseball coach Rick Espeset, who put into perspective the meaning of the memorial.
“Congratulations to those whose vision created this memorial and thanks to those who fought and died for the greatest country on the planet,” Espeset said.
Following the dedication, the Student Princes squared off against Manchester, splitting a double-header.