"Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say, why not”?
~ George Bernard Shaw, often attributed to Robert F. Kennedy
A friend of mine, who has had his fair share of appointed and elected positions over the years, said to me a while back that he really hates to attend meetings because there is always someone who just likes to hear himself or herself talk.
He is a do-er, not a talker, as they say in the business world. Well, sadly, Highland just lost one of the people that pushed the envelope and did things in the community.
The Highland Soccer Club mourns the loss of its president Oct. 10 after a battle with cancer. Jeff DeVries was involved in youth soccer in Highland from the bottom up.
He coached soccer for the past seven years, and later served as vice president before becoming president of the league. During that time, like the type-A personality that he was, he was instrumental in helping the league grow and improve its facilities.
At a recent soccer game, he was patrolling the soccer complex at Sheppard Park as seed was being put down on the soccer field and two youth league games were played. Jeff was there to see that happen and plant the seed, metaphorically speaking, but won’t be around to see this great project through to completion.
The league, with parents and players having grown together over the years, rallied around the memory of DeVries and are doing all that they can to help those left behind by this loss. Really, I think, they are doing what DeVries would have done himself - see a problem and tackle it.
He is survived by wife Melissa, and daughters Gabby, Ella and Addysen. For the last few weeks, the league has sold tickets for an upcoming fundraiser at the Sheppard Park concession stands.
The season is now over and the rest of us are beginning the long hibernation and the fundraiser is fast approaching. So, in the memory of Jeff DeVries, I say some men just can’t sit still, they have to be moving. They have to be a part of the solution instead of simply filling a spot on a board.
DeVries pulled for the league, pulled for the kids, roamed the sidelines like any anxious parent or coach and now the people that have done the same thing alongside him for the last seven years are pulling for him in a different way.
The fundraiser will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 4, a short week away, at the Highland Elks Lodge, 3120 45th St. A donation of $5 per person or $20 per family will show support for Jeff and his young family.
Tickets include a dinner, with a cash bar available. There will be a raffle and entertainment, just as anyone who cannot sit still would love. Call Jodi Aurand at (219) 718-5138 or Jamie Krull at (219) 924-5121 for tickets. Checks may be made payable to Highland Soccer Club.
The league will move on, that much is certain, but it will do so with Jeff’s memory, and all that people like him represent, close to their hearts.