Jackson Charity Remembers James Volpe [AUDIO]
A Jackson charity has set out on a mission to honor a fallen son, while helping youth in the process.
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Tragedy struck on May 13, 2011 when James Volpe, a senior baseball player for Jackson Memorial High School at the time, was killed as a passenger in an accident. The beloved young man was just 17 years old.
During services, his parents asked that anybody wishing to send flowers, instead made a donation to help build a new baseball scoreboard at the high school. This offering spoke to the type of family that James came from, and also honored his love of baseball.
"Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman, they have nothing on Christine and Anthony Volpe," explained Co-Chairperson Rob Meleo, "They are really, truly the superheroes."
Despite the untimely death of James, this scoreboard fundraising spawned into a full-blown charity just a few months later when a group of family and friends launched The James Volpe Foundation.
Meleo says the goal is "to help students and athletes achieve their highest goals by helping them through scholarships and other means."
In just a short time, the foundation has held numerous fundraisers including now annual golf tournaments, and their biggest event, The Wiffle Ball Tournament and Family Day. The second annual will be held this Saturday in Jackson at the Holbrook Little League Complex, beginning at 9 AM.
"We try to put on the best events we possibly can," he said, "None of us are paid, so every penny we take in goes out to help others within our mission statement."
There will be rides for kids, carnival games, face painting, Home Run Derby buy-in, 50/50 raffles, entertainment, and gift baskets. Meleo says the event is intended to be one large block party to remember James and raise money for their cause.
While last year's event drew about 500-600 people, they are hopeful that between 800-1000 people turnout this year. And you can, of course, play some wiffleball, which was one of James' favorite games to play.
"Although James may not be here in body, he is here in spirit," said Meleo. His involvement in the organization stems from his son, Matt's friendship with James. The two played baseball together and were set to be college roomates in the fall at Kean University.
Meleo credits the Volpe family with their handling of such an unfortunate and tragic death.
"No parent should have to live through the death of a child. And the way they've come through this, with such grace and charm, it's unbelievable."
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