Spring Hill, FL – (February 27, 2020) – United Way of Hernando County proudly hosted their 5th Annual "KICK" Start to Early Literacy Kickball Tournament at Anderson Snow Park on Saturday, February 22, 2020. Every year, local companies compete in single elimination rounds to win United Way’s Ultimate Traveling Trophy in support of their early literacy program for Hernando pre-school children. At the end of the day, Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative’s team “WRECing Crew,” the previous year’s champions, went head to head with Publix 1132’s “Brooksville Bombers”. In the end, the “Brooksville Bombers,” led by Celebrity Coach Jeff Rogers, Hernando County’s Administrator, were crowned the 2020 Kickball Champions.
The following businesses competed in this year’s event:
- Barrette Outdoor Living
- Keller Williams The Plumadore Group
- HCA, Oak Hill Hospital
- (8) Publix Stores
- Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative
Celebrity Coaches represented:
- John Allocco, BOCC District 3
- Doug Chorvat Jr., Comptroller Clerk of Circuit Court
- Dr. Brian Dahmer, Family Chiropractic
- Dr. Joanie Davis, Davis Family Hearing
- Nicholle Fernandez-Shute, Owner of Coffee News
- Gus Guadagnino, Hernando County School Board
- Jeff Holcomb, BOCC District 4
- Jeff Rodgers, Hernando County Administrator
- Mike Steele, Florida Cracker Kitchen
Publix’s Plato the Dinosaur was also crowned the winner of the inaugural Mascot Fun Run. Other mascots represented were Andy the Armadillo from Texas Roadhouse, Pikachu, Carey the Cow, and Tommy the T-Rex.
United Way has been the sole provider for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program in Hernando County for over 10 years. Every enrolled child receives a free book every month until the age of five. These books are distributed at no cost to the families, regardless of their economic status. Currently, the program serves 1,100 children every month, and as its popularity continues to grow, so does Hernando’s wait list and need for additional funding. All event proceeds benefit the Imagination Library. Child sponsorship opportunities are also available.
A special thank you to kickball sponsors “Base Run Ballers” from Family Chiropractic Center for Wellness, Carter Foreman PLLC, PED-Stuart Corporation. And supporting sponsors Simply Healthcare, Centennial Bank, Hernando County Parks and Recreation, Texas Roadhouse, SunTrust Bank, and Sam’s Club.
Thank you to United Way’s Proud Partners at the Boys & Girls Club, Dawn Center, Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind, and NAMI Hernando for coming out and supporting the Kickball Tournament by providing local resources for families. Family Chiropractic offered free massages, LifeSouth Community Blood Centers had their Bloodmobile on site, Sam’s Club, and the John Allocco Campaign and Mid-Florida Community Service’s Early Start and Head Start had tables shared resources and information as well.
Food trucks on site were the Sunshine Nut Company’s Peanut Shack, BrainFreeze Italian Ice, and Texas Roadhouse, who grilled hotdogs and hamburgers for the players, volunteers, and attendees.
PJ the DJ from The Arc Nature Coast provided upbeat music all day for attendees. Local businesses also donated hundreds of give-away items for the 208 team players: Tropic Shores Realty Agent Toniann Ciappetta, Simply Soothing Bug Soother, Ackley Dental, and LifeSouth. United Way would also like to thank National Anthem singer and D.S. Parrott Middle School teacher Nichelle Mohre-Cassidy, volunteers, Board Members, and Kickball Planning Committee for donating their time and efforts to help make this event such a success.
For more information on sponsoring a child on the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, call the United Way office at 352-688-2026 or email impact@UnitedWayHernando.org.