As officials of the Western Pennsylvania Miracle League begin signing up for the fall 2022 baseball season, they will have an additional $5,000 to spend on expanding rosters and giving more people with special needs the chance to play the ball.
The league’s founder, Rev. Harold Hicks of Blairsville, recently received the 15th Annual Joseph C. Cirelli Community Service Award from Clearview Federal Credit Union for his work with the league.
“Harold is not only a dedicated volunteer and president, but together with his late wife, Patti, founded the organization,” Clearview President Ron Celaschi said at the awards presentation. “Since 2012, the organization gives the joy of participating to people with special needs.”
There are approximately 250 Miracle League organizations across the United States. The first opened in Georgia in 2000. The Miracle League of Western Pennsylvania started in 2012 in Murrysville with around 45 players. In 2020, there were approximately 180 participants aged 5 to 71. During the 2021-22 season, more than 500 people enjoyed team sports at the field, located in Murrysville Community Park on Wiestertown Road.
“I am truly touched and grateful for this generous recognition,” Hicks said. “The Miracle League will use these funds for the ongoing maintenance of the grounds to give everyone access to playing activities.”
The award, given annually by Clearview, was recently renamed in memory of longtime employee and former CEO Joseph Cirelli, who passed away in 2021.
“He dedicated much of his time to charities and causes that furthered the spirit of Clearview’s vision: to help people enjoy a better life,” Celaschi said. “We are honored to recognize Harold, who embodies Mr. Cirelli’s legacy of service.”
Hicks said the enjoyment attendees get from the experience was also reflected back to him.
“I lost Patti last November, but there hasn’t been a moment where I’ve felt unloved yet, and that’s because of all the people here,” Hicks said. “They support me in every way possible.”
The Miracle League fall season opens on August 20. Registration is available online at MLWPA.org.