New memorial stands at Ron Wood Baseball Complex
Jun 23, 2017 10:53AM
By Greg James
The Ron Wood Baseball Complex has a new memorial to honor fallen officers, built and funded completely by the WJ/Copper Hills baseball league. (Greg James/City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
As players enter The Ron Wood Baseball Complex, they are greeted by a monument standing at the park's entrance. It’s a constant reminder of West Jordan police officers that have given their lives to protect and serve the community.
“We now have a project that honors two of our community heroes,” said Jason Saunders, West Jordan/Copper Hills baseball league president. “Anyone that comes to this park will know what it is for and what the park is about. It will be a lasting legacy for the park and this community.”
The Fallen Officers Memorial started as conversation of the West Jordan/Copper Hills Cal Ripken baseball league board members in 2015. Many wondered whether the players understood the significance of the park’s name. The board decided it would be nice to put up a plaque on the wall.
The plaque idea took hold and evolved into stone monument and flagpole recently installed at the park. The project was paid for by private donations from league members and local businesses.
The memorial was unveiled in a ceremony May 20, attended by city officials, the league board and players and families of the fallen officers.
The monument memorializes police officers Ron Wood and Tom Rees, who lost their lives on duty serving West Jordan City residents.
“I love what it says for the league to make this important to its kids,” son of fallen officer Tom Rees, Lieutenant Travis Rees of the West Jordan Police Department said. “It helps remind all of us to grow to be great people and citizens. I think the volunteers in a league like this do nothing but good for the community. We can gather together and play and do our best; it teaches us good things.”
The large stone memorial is engraved with photos of the fallen officers and says “honor, duty and sacrifice” on the back. It cost about $7,500 to finish the project.
“The hours that all of these youth spend here learning to win and lose are the most important things in our community,” West Jordan Mayor Kim Rolfe said. “Sports allows kids to learn life's lessons, and this is the next generation. This city is glad to support this league and this great monument.
Baseball is a game of success and failure. Saunders said the game can teach you to get back up and keep trying.
The league has about 800 players ranging for 6–18 years old. Its teams compete statewide in the Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth state tournaments. They also offer competitive teams that play in more advanced super-league tournaments all summer.
“It makes me feel awesome,” league president elect Rob Durfee said. “It has got to be one of the most humbling things I have ever been involved in. I hope that for years to come kids will be able to stop and remember these officers. It has a great deal of meaning to me.”
As an Eagle Scout project, Caleb Saunders and his Scout troop helped raise money, prepared the structures base and helped install the flagpole. He raised more than $1,300 to support the project. He is scheduled to get his Eagle the first part of August.
“It is exciting to be part of this,” Caleb said. “I will be able to come back and show my family.”
The monument sits just inside the east gate of the park.