“Final Touch” Put on Field that Evokes Memories of Fallen Heroes

BY SARA GILBERT

Haverstraw builds concession stand at Corporal Manny Lopez Field

Volunteers help build and raise the first wall of the concession stand at the Corporal Manny Lopez Field in Haverstraw.

About 30 volunteers gathered on Saturday, April 21 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to build a concession stand at the Corporal Manny Lopez Field. Building this concession stand is the “final touch” on the ball field which is just two years old, said Haverstraw’s Mayor Michael Kohut.

Dedicated to the Rockland service members killed in the Iraqi War — specifically the first Rockland soldier killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, Army Cpl. Manny Lopez — the field has special meaning to Haverstraw residents.

“Let’s raise this wall in honor of Manny Lopez,” said Kohut, who was excited by the turn out of volunteer workers. “Already just this first morning we’re seen many different faces.”

The work is planned to continue each Saturday and Sunday until the end of May.

“This is our first community-build project ever and we’re really excited,” said Trustee Emily Dominguez. “We’re so thankful for all the volunteers and donations.”

Upon completion, the building will house bathrooms, a kitchen, an upstairs announcer booth and storage areas. The plan is for the food and drinks sold at the stand to help generate revenue, which will offset maintenance and upkeep costs.

“This really completes the package for the field,” Kohut said. “People won’t need to use portable bathrooms or bring their own food. Plus it will generate money.”

Several teams currently use the field, including the Haverstraw Little League, the Haverstraw Fire Department League and the Rockland Rebels. The more teams that use the field, the better it is for business in Haverstraw as the location is right next to the downtown area, volunteers said.

“Not enough people know about this field yet and so we need to get more people out here and this will definitely help,” said Mike Sansonetti, a life-long Haverstraw resident and volunteer administrator at Rockland Softball.

Sansonetti was volunteering his Saturday to helping build the stand along with his colleague, Mary Corretjer, another Haverstraw lifer.

“And it will be great to have more people supporting the games and the kids,” Corretjer added. They hope to hold the girls’ softball championship at the field one day soon, they said.

The energy and community-spirit was evident in all. Even those with no idea what to do with a hammer and nail were there showing moral support.

Frank DeLasso, who ran youth programs for the state before retiring and also worked with the Haverstraw little league for 17 years, was there, showing his support. “Everything we do here is going to help Haverstraw and the kids,” he said. “We’re very proud of our village.”