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Sports Commentary 12/21/12

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Scott’s friend, Russ Laribee has a daughter that needs your help…

A RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS

It’s always good to hear from an old friend. Sometimes the news could be better. Russ Laribee was a high school and college baseball star out of Southington when he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1977. He spent the next five seasons on the Red Sox farms, ascending as high as triple A Pawtucket, where, in 1981 he was a teammate of such future stalwarts of the Sox 1986 World Series team as Wade Boggs, Bruce Hurst, Rich Gedman, Bob Ojeda and Marty Barrett. In 1980 Laribee was a .300 hitter with the Bristol Red Sox. In 1981 he played a major role in baseball history, while making history himself. It was his sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning that tied a game with the Rochester Red Wings and forced extra innings in what would become the longest game in professional baseball history, the Pawsox eventually winning 3-2 in 33 innings. In that game Laribee set a professional baseball standard he’d rather forget, striking out seven times while officially going oh for eleven. Russ now lives in Florida and still keeps in touch with old friends like Boggs and Barrett, and me. It was heartbreaking to learn in the last week that Russ’ beautiful 20 year old daughter, Melissa, was the pedestrian victim of a drunk driver in Norwich in October and was injured so seriously both legs had to be amputated. She’s recently been released from the hospital and has returned to her home in Colchester. For a young women who was a nationally recognized, award winning dancer it’s hard to imagine a circumstance that could be more traumatic, yet she has remained an inspiration to all around her. “You never know how strong you are”, she told her father, “Until being strong is the only choice you have.” The road ahead will be a long one for Melissa, and it won’t be an easy one. Fortunately she has adequate medical coverage but she hopes to obtain the best possible prosthetics to help her get on with her life and possibly a car altered to meet her needs. With the assistance of the Wells Fargo Bank, Mayakka office in Port Charlotte, Russ and his family have established a fund to raise money for Melissa’s rehabilitation. Checks can be made out to the Melissa Laribee Benefit Donation Fund and mailed to Wells Fargo Bank, Mayakka Office, 13445 McCall Road, Port Charlotte, Florida, 33981. To check for spelling and to confirm the address you can access a printed text of this commentary at our WTIC web site at cbsconnecticut.com, or you can walk into any Wells Fargo Bank in the nation and write on the deposit ticket, “Melissa Laribee Benefit Donation Fund”. It’s the perfect time of year to help lift the spirits of a beautiful young woman and we’ve all learned in the last week of the lasting value of random acts of kindness. If anything, we’ve learned we’re all in this life together and we are our brothers, and sisters, keepers. With a plea for your generosity from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.

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