Barnhill Foundation dedicates youth field
Facility named for former Reds employee sees first action
MAINEVILLE, Ohio -- The Kevin C. Barnhill Championship Field was dedicated at Testerman Park on Saturday afternoon. It was one of those situations in which something positive comes out of tragedy.
The facility is named for Kevin C. Barnhill, a former Cincinnati Reds ticket operations employee whose life was cut short in August 2006 when the 27-year-old was the victim of a homicide in Mason, Ohio. His friends and family described Kevin as a fun-loving, hard-working young man who loved life.
The field was the dream of Kevin's parents, Bill and Barbara. Their hometown of Maineville is a sprawling suburban community northeast of Cincinnati where Kevin was raised. They wanted to honor their son by giving back to the community in which he matured into adulthood.
"This has been a true labor of love for my wife Barbara and I," said Bill Barnhill of the Kevin C. Barnhill Foundation.
The complex serves as one of the region's premier youth baseball facilities, complete with natural turf infields and outfields, enclosed dugouts and bullpens. A second phase will include an electronic outfield scoreboard, a concourse area with stadium-style bleachers and a press box.
The facilities serve as a fitting tribute for those who knew Kevin.
"He was full of life and always smiling," said John O'Brien, Reds director of ticket operations. "He always had a way of keeping everyone entertained, and there was big void to fill when he left us."
Funding for the Testerman Park complex was provided jointly by the Reds Community Fund, the official non-profit arm of the Cincinnati Reds, and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, an initiative of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The Kevin C. Barnhill Memorial Scholarship Fund also combined efforts with the Hamilton Township Park Board, Michael Schuster Associates, Inc., and the Warren County Foundation to bring this project to fruition.
"This was such a natural project for the Reds and Reds Community Fund to be a part of," said Charley Frank, executive director of the Reds Community Fund. "It is an honor for the Reds organization to be here on a permanent level, and after meeting with people from the township, we could tell that this was a place that the Reds needed to be."
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund, celebrating its 10th anniversary, provided $55,000 for the project and supported the vision of the Barnhill family and Reds Community Fund.
"Professional baseball is a very small family," said Cathy Bradley, executive director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. "We are really proud that the Barnhills chose baseball to honor Kevin and appreciate their support of baseball and softball in this community."
"Our son Kevin lived for Opening Day," said Bill Barnhill at the conclusion of the ceremony.
This is one opening day that will live on.
Jim Misudek is a media relations intern with the Cincinnati Reds. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.