Ripken, PCC Alum on Hand to Announce Sarah Vaughn Field of Dreams Renovation
GREENVILLE—Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. was in town last week to announce a partnership that will result in the refurbishment of the Sarah Vaughn Field of Dreams, a baseball park specifically built for children with physical and developmental disabilities.
During the April 10 ceremony, which took place at the ballpark, Ripken announced that the Cal Ripken Sr. Family Foundation had joined forces with the Greenville Parks and Recreation Department and the Exceptional Community Baseball League to renovate the four-year-old sports venue.
Joining the legendary Baltimore Orioles shortstop at the ceremony were PCC Foundation Board member David Vaughn and his 12-year-old daughter, Sarah, for whom the Elm Street ballpark is named.
David Vaughn, a PCC alum who received the college’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008, helped create the Sarah Vaughn Field of Dreams. He said the field was the result of a community effort and that he was simply fortunate to have been a part of it.
“The community helped make my dream come true,” said Vaughn.
He went on to explain that building a handicap-accessible baseball park in Greenville made it possible for him to enjoy playing sports with Sarah, just as he did with her older brother, Michael, and sister, Jennifer.
Vaughn has coached at nearly all levels of baseball and softball. He has led squads ranging from Little League Baseball teams to the PCC softball team, and he enjoyed watching and playing sports with Michael and Jennifer as they grew up. But until the development of the Sarah Vaughn Field of Dreams, he couldn’t share that same enjoyment with Sarah.
So when he first learned of handicap-accessible baseball fields in 2006, Vaughn rallied a group of baseball and recreation enthusiasts to research the concept. He then supervised a board that collected funds to create the $750,000-Sarah Vaughn Field of Dreams, which features an asphalt/rubber composite surface that accommodates individuals utilizing walkers and wheelchairs.
Vaughn said he has come to realize that the Greenville ballpark now serves as a model for communities nationwide that are building handicap-accessible fields through support from the Cal Ripken Sr. Family Foundation.
“Pitt County is a truly a pioneer for handicap-accessible fields across the country,” said Vaughn, who serves as a member of the Cal Ripken Sr. Family Foundation Board.
As a Cal Ripken Jr. fan, Vaughn said he has enjoyed spending time with the baseball great through his work with the foundation board and has come to know baseball’s Iron Man as a genuinely good person with a big heart. He said having Ripken on hand to announce renovations to the Sarah Vaughn Field of Dreams last week was “amazing.”
Vaughn, who owns and operates Greenville’s David Vaughn Construction, will manage the renovation project, which includes new metal roofs and knee-high brick walls for the dugouts, a new press box and a lower outfield fence to give fans a better view of the action on the field. The renovated park will also feature a new scoreboard, which will give players a chance to see their names in lights.
“I’ve always heard people say that dreams come true,” Vaughn said. “Well, my dreams are really coming true. I’m going to have to dream new dreams.”