Published November 19, 2021
On Sunday, Nov. 14, members of the DC3 baseball team partnered with Ford County RSVP for the annual Fall Cleanup Day for Dodge City area senior citizens. [Photo by Annalynn Kirkhart]
Dodge City Community College (DC3) baseball has yet to throw out the first pitch of the regular season, however that has not stopped this year’s team from building a strong core.
The DC3 baseball team partnered with the Ford County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) to conduct a large-scale fall cleanup for the elderly in the Dodge City area on Sunday, Nov. 14. By splitting into two groups, the team tackled nearly a dozen houses throughout the city.
Assistant coach Eli Egger is a veteran when it comes to the RSVP fall cleanup. In fact, the third-year assistant has participated every year since he arrived at DC3.
“RSVP is a great organization that is through school and partners with elderly people in town. This fall cleanup helps the elderly get their home winterized,” Egger said. “So, it’s a lot of leaf raking, gutter cleaning, maybe fixing a fence or two, and just some random odds and ends that these people are not going to be able to do themselves, or would take a long time to do.”
Members of the DC3 baseball team rake leaves during the annual Fall Cleanup Day for Dodge City area senior citizens on Sunday, Nov. 14. [Photo by Annalynn Kirkhart]
First-year head coach Brett Doe said he was eager to get out and make a difference in the Dodge City community.
“It’s exciting branching out and showing people that it’s a new chapter,” Doe said. “I feel like community service is something that our program has done very well in the past. So, I am definitely thankful for walking into an opportunity where we’re already well established in the community.”
Doe said he understands that games are not won or lost in the offseason. However, he recognizes that these team-building events within the community are what set the foundation for a winning culture come spring.
“I thought it was a really good event where we made an impact in the community,” Doe said. “We got our guys all hanging out working on something outside of baseball, and it brought us closer together and more connected within the community.”
Mathis Mauldin, a sophomore from Grain Valley, Mo., said he relished the opportunity to give back to the elderly community and get his hands dirty in the process.
“We provided manual labor, cleaned up the gutters, just things that they wouldn’t be capable of doing, and it felt very rewarding,” Mauldin said. “They honestly made me think about my grandparents. And if I was helping them out, I would want to try extra hard.”
Mauldin, a pitcher for DC3, said he believes that the team’s service will translate to more fan support in and around the Dodge City area.
“I took pride in cleaning up. I really enjoyed it. Whenever they would tell us to do certain things, I would make sure if they needed us to do anything else,” Mauldin said. “For us to support them, I feel like they will come to our games and support us.”
Above, members of the baseball team enjoy no-bake cookies provided by one of the home owners during the Fall Cleanup Day. Pictured (left to right) are Camden Thrailkill, a redshirt freshman from Denton, Texas; Diego Dominguez, a redshirt sophomore from Vaughan, Ontario, Canada; Jacob Loflin, a sophomore from Edmond, Okla.; and Blake Anderson a sophomore from Royse City, Texas. [Photo by Annalynn Kirkhart]
Annalynn Kirkhart, Director of Ford County RSVP, is in charge of setting up the Fall Cleanup Day. The process involves marketing the cleanup on social media, going door to door asking residents if they’re in need of assistance, and using old fashioned word of mouth.
The planning and coordination of the volunteer effort takes weeks to prepare, but the payoff for Kirkhart is seeing the effect volunteering can have on the student-athletes involved.
“I actually think volunteering is the first step to opening people’s minds and hearts. At a young age, I think that’s the best way to start it,” Kirkhart said. “The fall cleanup for the kids brings the realization that when you get older, you may need a little bit of help and have to reach out to that younger community.”
Egger said he echoes the same sentiment from Kirkhart. Service for these young players can give them a great deal of perspective in life.
“The biggest thing for us is our guys are very blessed. They’re really athletically talented. They have had a lot of things go their way,” Egger said. “Being out in the community shows the athletes how much the people in town really care about the college. It also teaches our players the benefits of helping people that can’t help themselves.”
The idea of serving the community has been deeply rooted in DC3 baseball ever since the first Fall Cleanup Day was organized 16 years ago in 2005. Kirkhart said “a lot of people want to see a smiling face and a helping hand here in Dodge,” and that is what the RSVP fall cleanup is all about.
“I truly believe that this is one of the amazing things that the college participates in with this community,” Kirkhart said. “We have a lot of elderly here, and not all elderly can go out to a ballgame or go to certain events. For us to reach out to them shows the college cares.”
By Luke FayDC3 Marketing and Media Specialist