Mona Shield Payne/Special to the Sun
Saturday, March 14, 2009 | 3:54 p.m.
Josh Stevens only spent 12 years on earth, but in that short time, friends and family members say he left a lasting legacy of kindness.
Now, they’re determined to spread that legacy.
At the Paseo Verde Little League’s Opening Day Celebration on Saturday morning at Dos Escuelas Park in Henderson, his family announced the launch of the Josh Stevens Foundation.
Josh Stevens died Sept. 5 in a golf cart accident.
“My son always was doing kind things for people,” Drew Stevens said. “My hope is that my son’s inspiration inspires other people to really understand and appreciate the gift of kindness that is born within the heart of a child.”
The foundation has asked team moms and coaches to be on the lookout for players and other children doing kind acts. If they see one, they will reward the child with a thank-you card, a shoelace charm bearing the foundation’s name and a gift card from Golden Spoon.
Stevens said his wife, Barbara Stevens, came up with the idea for the foundation’s purpose. He said the goal is to create a movement that will spread from the baseball diamond to schools to the community.
“It won’t be long before we see a sort of kindness revolution evolve right here in our own community,” Drew Stevens said.
Henderson City Councilman Steve Kirk attended the kick-off celebration with a surprise for the family ‹ a plaque dedicating the east field at Dos Escuelas as “Josh’s Field.” It was there where Josh Stevens built a reputation as a talented catcher and kind teammate, his family said. Drew Stevens, who was briefly overcome with emotion after seeing the plaque, said it was a perfect memorial.
“My son played out there for seven years,” he said. “This is where I remember watching him play. For me, I think that this is just going to act as a reminder to everyone of the kindness of Josh.”
In honor of Josh Stevens’ memory, the foundation is sponsoring the Angels team in all five of the league’s divisions, and Drew Stevens is coaching the Angels T-ball team.
Robert Zagby, a Stevens family friend and foundation board member, said Josh was the kind of boy who would walk across a crowded party and befriend another child sitting alone.
In a championship game one year, Josh hit a potential game winner, but the umpire ruled it foul. While parents and teammates exploded, Zagby said, Stevens went over, high-fived the umpire and told him it was a good call.
“That’s just the kind of kid Josh was,” Zagby said. “Everybody knew that about him. He couldn’t run across the street fast enough to help you unload your car.”
Michael Blasko, a friend and teammate of Stevens, said he was a “great catcher and a great leader.
“He worked hard, not so he could be the best, but so that his team could win,” he said.
Blasko said what the Josh Stevens Foundation will do is the perfect way to keep his friend’s memory alive.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “I wish we would have had something like this last year.”
For more information about the Foundation, visit www.joshstevensfoundation.org.