07/02/2007 9:30 PM ET
Red Sox donate ambulance to Ortiz's hometown
BOSTON, MA -- The Boston Red Sox, in conjunction with the City of Boston and the Town of Lenox MA, tonight presented an ambulance to the Dominican Republic community of Haina, the hometown of Red Sox star David Ortiz. The City of Haina previously had no ambulance service for its over 140,000 residents.
The vehicle was presented this evening to Ortiz and the Mayor of Haina, Luis Concepción, in a pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park. Representatives from Lenox included State Representative Smitty Pignatelli; Selectmen Board Chairman Rob Akroyd; and EMT volunteers Linda Clifford, Chris Long, Jake Pyra, Mike Vinchuck, and Marc Zamboni..
Local philanthropist Charlene Englehard helped create the program through which the Red Sox and their fans provide community service in the Dominican. Using the Spanish translation for "Beautiful Dreams," the Lindos Suenos program annually sends 12 Boston teens to play baseball each day for two weeks with 12 Dominican teens. Each morning, all 24 children provide community service.
Starting in 2004, the Lindos Suenos program targeted the village of El Mamon, near the club's Dominican academy in El Toro. This year, the children will focus their efforts on Haina as a gesture of gratitude for the on-field and off-field heroics of Ortiz. The purchase of the ambulance from the town of Lenox was facilitated by the office of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. It represents the first step of the Lindos Suenos efforts in Haina.
Starting July 21, the teens will help refurbish baseball fields in the town where Ortiz spent his teenage years. Approximately 2,000 Little Leaguers are expected to use the fields.
"David Ortiz has given so much to the Boston Red Sox, and we are honored to be able to give something so important back to his hometown of Haina," said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. "We also want to thank Boston Mayor Menino and the leadership of Lenox for their support."
Fifteen current and former Lindos Sueños Program participants also took part in tonight's ceremony. The children who will be participating this year have independently gathered baseball equipment to bring down to the Little Leaguers of Haina.
Ms. Englehard first approached the Red Sox about this initiative in 2003, and the program began in 2004. The vision was to demonstrate how children come together through baseball, regardless of socioeconomic status or language, then learn of different cultures and experience community service.
WISE Snack Foods became a corporate sponsor this year as well.