The ball diamond on the west end of Bonnyville has a new name after coach, umpire, and board member Jim Church.
The newly named Church Field was broken in with a game umpired by the man who it was named after.
The announcement was made just before the game on Thursday and was a complete surprise to Church who was unaware of the name of the diamond.
Travis Farrer approached the Town of Bonnyville Naming Committee in 2019 to make the request to thank and recognize Church for his commitment to youth sports.
“Jim Church has been an active supporter of the community since 1998, coaching soccer, hockey, football, and baseball,” Farrer told the group gathered at Church Field.
“He has been president of the soccer association, vice-president of Bonnyville Minor Ball, and has been an active coach and
positive role model to youth in Bonnyville and surrounding areas for nearly 25 years. He has championed and strengthened athletics in our community, sometimes literally building it from the ground up.”
Church was blindfolded when approaching the diamond and was completely surprised when he saw the sign for the first time. He says the coaches don’t do it for the recognition.
“It’s for the kids, every kid deserves to play sports, and that it can be their safe zone. They may not have the best place at home… The coaches are sometimes the first male role models that boys ever had. We try to be positive figures (for them).”
Church has been the recipient of the Baseball Alberta’s Baseball Canada Grassroots Coaching Award twice and was also awarded the Bill Chmilar Award of Merit.
The U18 ball diamond, or the Midget Diamond as Bonnyville Minor Ball called it, shall now be known as Church Field. Bonnyville Minor Ball asked Church to throw out the first pitch.