Dining At the Diamond Brings More Than Spirit

The NMSU Aggie softball team wanted to start their season with a special twist. They approached Fred Heinrich, associate athletic director for development, about a location.  He told them the best plan would be to have their event at the softball complex. “The more people you bring out to the ball park, the more you can get them to come back for games,” he told them.

The wrinkle was the date for the event: Saturday, January 31st.  Since the weather could pose a problem, Heinrich contacted Alaska Structures which produces fabric shelters for military and civilian purposes and operates a production facility in Las Cruces. They agreed to furnish a tent for the occasion and then asked another question.

“Could you help us find someone who could benefit from a track-style motorized wheelchair? Our foundation is involved in this project to support disabled veterans and we have never given one of the chairs in New Mexico.” After a few phone calls, Heinrich found the perfect recipient in Sean Robinson, a disabled Navy veteran, who is a now a junior enrolled in the CEP program in the college of education. For Sean, this chair will be a great addition to his life.  He and his family have always enjoyed outdoor activities but that had been out of the question since 2011 when his disability restricted him to a wheelchair. He says his wife is already making plans for hiking and camping trips. Receiving the track chair as a part of the Dining at the Diamond event also gave him and his family the opportunity to meet members of the team ‘up close and personal.’

“Our youngest daughter, who is now a freshman at NMSU, played softball in high school and our family has enjoyed coming to watch the Aggies play softball so we could see how it is played on the college level.”

Assistant coach Kate Malveaux who organized the event said it turned out just as they had hoped. Some 50 fans were on hand to tour the facilities, meet the athletes and then try their hand at the various skills required to be a softball player, including attempting to hit a 60 mph pitch, fielding a ball hit by a member of the team and emulating the softball pitching style. The team has already seen several of those attendees at regular games, which is exactly what they hoped to accomplish.  

For more information on corporate and foundation giving, contact Elaine Stachera or call (575) 646-4664. 


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