Former Elizabeth Fire Chief Lou Kelly is being posthumously honored by Playball for Miracles with a division named in his honor, organizers of the fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals announced.
In the past, this one-pitch, softball tournament has consisted of two divisions, Men’s and Co-ed. On May 6, 2017, Playball for Miracles will launch the First Annual Chief Kelly Emergency Personnel Match-up, a third, Co-ed division for police, fire, corrections officers, and EMS personnel at the 13th Annual Playball for Miracles Charity Softball Tournament in Warinanco Park on the Elizabeth/Roselle border. The tournament also attracts civilian teams from all over New Jersey, as well as teams from New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.
Kelly was a retired Chief of the Elizabeth Fire Department and a mutual aid coordinator for Union County, serving for more than 47 years. He died of heart complications in the line of duty in December after responding to a fire in Clark.
“My dad, Chief Kelly, was a huge part of Playball for Miracles from the very start of it in 2005,” explained Erin Kelly-McGuinness, Playball’s chief coordinator. “He was our biggest supporter, and our biggest fan. The amount of tireless effort he put into helping us run successful tournaments each year cannot be put into words and has left me hoping I don’t forget to do one of the many things he took responsibility of. He was an amazing man, and I am blessed to be the only one who could ever say, ‘I’m Chief Kelly’s daughter!’”
Playball for Miracles is run as a stand-alone fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, especially Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside and the PSE&G Children’s Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. In its 12 years of existence, it has raised more than $125,000, plus another $25,000 for the families of police, fire, and EMS personnel who have a child with special needs.