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Kenny Mason

Parks president says children give him joy

Parks president says children give him joy

May 18, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Kenny Mason has been working with children for most of his adult life.

The Morgan County Parks and Recreation president said that as a coach, his job is to teach teamwork and respect, and to accept both winning and losing gracefully.

"It takes hard work not only to succeed but to face the challenge of disappointment," he said.

Mason, 49, of Berkeley Springs, has always loved sports. He was a track athlete at Berkeley Springs High School who always longed to play baseball. He played adult softball and in the local men's baseball league, but a broken ankle ended the pastime he enjoyed after work and on weekends.

Mason and his wife have two sons, Jamie and Adam. When 5-year-old Jamie got interested in T-ball, the athletic spark returned for Mason and he began coaching his son's team in the Morgan County Little League.

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He coached Little League teams for 15 years, he said.

Mason has dedicated his time to helping children for more than 20 years.

"It's not only to learn how to play sports, but it's the values it teaches in life," he said. "I help the kids to perform at a level they think they never can, and it builds self-esteem. When you see that smile on their faces, it gives me joy."

Parks and Recreation provides the facilities for about 700 children on soccer, softball and baseball teams. Maintenance of the ballfield grounds, proper lighting for night games and parking is provided by the organization.

Mason and other Parks and Recreation board members oversee the Biddy Buddy youth basketball league, which has about 180 children from kindergarten to eighth grade.

Morgan County Commissioner Stacy A. Dugan, a Parks and Recreation board member, has known Mason for a long time.

"I think Kenny is a wonderful advocate for kids. I have worked side-by-side with him through various fundraising activities. He goes out of his way to make sure kids are safe and they have positive activities that are provided through Parks and Rec," Dugan said.

Mason is a member of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, where he teaches youth Sunday school. He said he was raised in the church but was not fully committed until late 2007 when problems occurred after he had ankle surgery.

He said he was unable to work for six months, and during that time read "The Purpose-Driven Life" by Rick Warren.

"I found my purpose is to help these kids," Mason said. "I don't know how you can turn your back on any kid. It's not about how well they play the sport. It's all about respect. Respect for yourself and respect for others."

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