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Posted on: August 24, 2022

500+ Kids Enjoy Field of Heroes Ball Clinic

Field of Heroes

Former Major League Baseball Stars Coach over 500 Kids During the “Field of Heroes” Youth Baseball Clinic at Daniel J. Flynn Memorial Park

Over 500 local youths turned out to spend the day honing their crafts on the ball field at Flynn Memorial Park on Sunday. The event; held on Sunday August 21st, was hosted by Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim and New York State Senator Mario R. Mattera, and included partnerships with MLB, Smithtown School District, Smithtown Recreation, Smithtown Youth Bureau, Nesconset Athletic Association, Kings Park Youth, Play Like a Pro Sports, Smithtown - St. James Little League and honoree foundation; Hero’s 4 Our Heroes. The free baseball/softball clinic was offered to both male and female children ages 6-18, featuring former Major League Baseball stars and local school coaches. Children received personalized baseball playing cards, MLB baseballs, autographs, photos and complimentary lunch for participants and guests catered by Panico’s Italian Market of Nesconset. 


“There is really nothing more gratifying as an elected official than to witness hundreds of families enjoying such a memorable experience. This event could not be possible without the incredible support and partnership with Senator Mario Mattera and his team, Hero’s 4 Our Heroes, the work of our dedicated Parks Department, Recreation, Public Safety, and our spectacular volunteers from the Youth Bureau. I also would like to thank Panico’s Market for cooking for over 1,000 people, Nesconset FD, and printer houses Capital Graphics and Trend it Branding, all who went above and beyond to make Sunday special. Finally, thank you to the inspiring Coaches, former MLB stars, and to our military and Veterans organizations who brought forth an unforgettable day for so many local families" - Supervisor Ed Wehrheim 


The Hero’s 4 Our Heroes foundation was honored with a NYS Senate Proclamation and a check was presented by Smithtown High School West Student Gianna Cangro, who fundraised over $2,700 for the organization. Hero’s 4 Our Heroes is a local not-for-profit organization which has served our military, fire, police and medical heroes since September 11th, 2001.


“The inspiring work by the Panico family and all the volunteers of Heros 4 Our Heroes is truly appreciated and our community is fortunate to have them in our town. They were there following the terror attacks of 9/11 and have never stopped bringing joy to the heroes who often go unsung. Thank you to Donato Jr. and Donato Sr. for always being there.” - Senator Mario Mattera


Former Major League players Frank Catalanotto, Art Shamsky, Oreste Marrero, John Doherty, Sal Agostinelli, Frank Tepedino, Fred Cambria, Adam Greenberg, Charles Galiano, Rick Schmidt, Keith Osik and Don DeMola were stationed at various fields to inspire and teach the budding athletes. Additionally, former Hofstra Softball Head Coach Bill Edwards oversaw the girls softball program. Former Congressman Peter King volunteered to coach alongside Frank Catalanotto. Smithtown Superintendent of Recreation Tom McCaffrey and his son Ryan also teamed up to coach the youngest participants, in addition to McCaffrey’s work in coordinating the event with the Supervisor's and Senator's offices. At the end of the clinic, each child received baseballs and/or softballs, collected autographs and took photographs with each of the coaches. 


Volunteers from local athletic teams:

  • Kings Park Youth: Aubrey Minton, Shaun Minton, Connor Delgado, John Fitzgerald, Tara Wowk, Anthony Fiola

  • Smithtown Recreation Dept. Lou Debole, Ryan McCaffery, Mike Perrelli, Lindsay Shellhorse, Gabby Lorefice, Marina Amicizia, Victoria Hussey

  • Nesconset Athletic Assoc. Joe Maggio, Chris Stoebe

  • Play like a Pro Sports: Steve Armenia, Scott June, Chris Scura

  • Smithtown/St. James Little League: Keith Tartamella

About Hero’s 4 Our Heroes Foundation:

The day after 9/11, the Panico’s wanted to do something to aid our rescue workers, so they loaded up a mobile catering truck full of food from their market in Smithtown and drove to Ground Zero. They cooked for ten straight days at the World Trade Center site and continued to provide free meals to first responders and frontline workers for the next 21 years. Every September 11th, Hero’s 4 Our Heroes prepares and gives away over 3,000 heroes to firefighters, policemen and veterans. During the holidays, Hero’s 4 Our Heroes distributes turkey dinners on Thanksgiving and ham or turkey dinners for Christmas at the VA Medical Center. Since September 11th, 2001, the Panico’s have served as an inspiration to the people of Smithtown by serving thousands of complimentary meals to frontline workers at hospitals, nursing homes, veterans facilities and dozens of other entities, in honor of the thousands of heroes who serve us every day. To donate to Hero’s 4 Our Heroes, visit: www.heros4ourheroes.org 

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