Family, friends recall Aaron Henderson, raise nearly $11,000 on his behalf
HOULTON, Maine — Friends and family played their hearts out over the weekend during the sixth annual Aaron Henderson Memorial Softball tournament.
In what turned out to be yet another record-setting weekend, the softball tournament and Aaron Henderson Memorial 5K race raised a grand total of $10,690 for the Green Beret Foundation. That figure far exceeds last year’s total of $6,213 and even the expectations of organizer Brad Fredericks who stated at the end of last year’s event that his goal for this year was $7,000.
During Saturday morning’s opening ceremony, emotions were high as friends recalled memories of Henderson.
Scott Sjoberg, who joined the military with Henderson and was a close family friend, welcomed those for Saturday’s opening ceremony. He opened the ceremony with a moment of silence for the two police officers who were killed in Fredericton, New Brunswick Friday.
“What started out as a little idea at the funeral service (for Henderson) of, ‘How do we get everyone together each year to remember Aaron?” has blossomed into this wonderful thing,” Sjoberg said. “This doesn’t happen in big cities. This is very special and I thank you all for being a part of it.”
Since Henderson was an avid softball player for team Shea-D-Lane in the Houlton Men’s League, the idea to honor him through a softball tournament proved to be fitting.
Henderson died Oct. 2, 2012, at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan as a result of an improvised explosive device (IED). He was a 1997 Hodgdon High School graduate and joined the U.S. Army in 2000. Henderson served a very distinguished career and became a highly decorated soldier. His service included assignments overseas in Japan, Iraq, Jordan and Afghanistan.
Evan Clark and Lisa Gravel, classmates of Henderson’s, served as this year’s guest speakers.
“We look forward (to this tournament) to reconnect with old friends and share the many memories we have of Aaron,” Clark said. “What makes this tournament so great is the opportunity it provides to bring people together to remember and honor the life of Aaron.”
He then shared a comical memory of the time when they were all children and he locked Aaron and his brother Sam in a shed.
“The only person who had the key, of course, was their father Dallas who was at work,” Clark said. “I vividly remember the not so happy look on his face when he walked into the backyard to unlock the door to the shed.”
Clark added, “There are very few things in life, that I wouldn’t sacrifice to play beside you in the outfield one more time. To maybe shoot some hoops at the Rec or run into you outside of your brother’s office.”
Gravel said there were countless stories of Aaron that could be told of their time together as youths.
“Not all of us, though, are as familiar with the story of Aaron the soldier,” she said. “Eighteen years ago, at the shaving of the head party to send Scott and Aaron off for boot camp, I remember thinking Aaron would be back in two days. Clearly, that was not the case as he not only completed time in the Army, but went on to be an Army Ranger with more medals and awards that most of us were aware of. He did his job above and beyond and impacted more lives than we will ever know about.”
CYG captures softball title
County Yankee Grocery put in a dominating effort in the softball tournament going unbeaten through five games to capture the coveted trophy. The softball tournament expanded to 16 teams this season, thus prompting organizers to switch the format to two-pitch maximum for batters.
In the championship game, CYG beat Dwyers 18-12 Sunday evening. Dwyers battled its way into the championship contest with a thrilling 21-20 extra-inning victory over Capital City.
Team members for CYG are Seth Dorr, Ashley Irish, Liz Read, McKensie Dorr, Billy Washburn, Michael Barnes; Dustin Sawtelle, Chris Irish, Ben Flewelling, Jim Castner, David Cropley and James Kendall.
Members of Dwyers are Cameron Graham, Logan Holmes, Tasha Doty, Alicia Smith, Katie Condon, Brooke Clark, Tyler Doty, Dillan Buzzell, Kasey Knights, Matthew McClellan, Dakota Sleeper and Josh Studer.
The fifth annual road race drew a field of 48 runners and walkers for the 5K event. Houlton’s Isaiah Brown logged the top finish as he completed the rugged course in 19 minutes, 21.93 seconds. Grace Graham was the first female finisher, and third overall, at 22:02.97.
The complete race results were as follows: 1, Brown, 19:21.93; 2, Matthew Savage, 21:46.40; 3, Graham, 22:02.97; 4, Jason Russell, 22:51.59; 5, Isaac Potter, 23:41.87; 6, Teanne Ewings, 24:18.48; 7, Jordyn Merritt, 24:36.42; 8, Kurt Kafferlin, 25:03.70; 9; Kirk Ward, 25:03.70; 10, Larry Hodges, 25:25.14; 22, Tim Williams, 25:27.06; 12, Kiley Henderson, 25:55.15; 13, Sarah Graham, 26:28.28; 14, Jared Drake, 27:02.89; 15, Sarah Williams, 27:23.23; 16, Drew Warman, 27:26.40; 17, Callie Sylvia, 28:04.11; 18, Grace Kafferlin, 28:42.35; 19, Jared Sylvia, 29:13.77; and 20, Eric Arnott, 29:18.92.
In addition, 21, Megan Hodge, 29:50.29; 22, Dawson McLaughlin, 30:20.29; 23, Justin Little, 31:29.68; 24, Mia Henderson, 33:32.04; 25, Daniel Henderson, 33:32.23; 26, Sam Kafferlin, 34:11.61; 27, Sam Henderson, 34:14.25; 28, Holly Henderson, 34:25.28; 29, Erin Kafferlin, 34:35.62; 30, Dave Bates, 34:45.10; 31, Elizabeth Audet, 37:00.40; 32, Dallas Henderson, 37:16.07; 33, Lauren Swimm, 37:24.21; 34, name not listed, 38:43.14; 35, Jenny Russell, 38:48.77; 36, Lisa Bates, 39:04.87; 37, name not listed, 39:22.20; 38, Davis Henderson, 39:42.12; 39, Bradley Berthiaume, 40:34.25; 40, Miles Berthiaume, 40:34.25; 41, name not listed, 41:20.14; 42, name not listed, 43:14.05; 43, name not listed, 43:14.81; 44, Ben Drew, 44:40.27; 45, Jake Drew, 44:40.27; 46, Jamey Potter, 44:40.27; 47, name not listed, 50:50.90; and 48, name not listed, 50:54.32.
(Photos by Joseph Cyr)