On Monday night, I made the drive over to the Day Complex for what I thought was going to be a quick picture for a donation made to the Dixie Youth Baseball league. 

Dave Ashwell and I talked a week or two ago about the baseball season getting started, and he mentioned that Harrison Conner’s family was going to make a donation to the league and asked if I would come take a picture for the paper. I told him of course I would, and after rain washed out the picture last week, they rescheduled for Monday night.

Instead of the quick picture for the paper, I was a part of a very special night for the community. Halifax County South, the league that Conner ran for so many years, was closing out its books, and Donald Honeycutt was carrying out his last duty as secretary treasurer of the league and making the donations.

Honeycutt presented $94,000 in donations on Monday, and it wasn’t just me who was surprised. As he announced the amounts to each organization, you could look around and see how much this meant to those receiving the money. You could hear the gasps as the amounts were said, and the clapping and hugs all around were evidence of the enormity of the situation.

When Conner died back in March, I was approached about doing an article about him for the paper. Articles like this scare me because I didn’t know Mr. Conner and once I started speaking with people about him, his role in the community and the kind of person he was, I got even more worried. How can I put into words how important this man was to his community, especially since I had never met him?

I spoke with Justin Bagbey and Michael Ferrell, two men who played at the Cluster Springs fields growing up, for the article I wrote back in April about Mr. Conner. It was apparent the impact he had on them and the community. 

The only thing that I wish I could have done was meet him. Everything I heard was so positive. How selfless he was, how he focused on the kids and kept up with their lives as they grew older, how he donated so much time and land into making the Cluster Springs ballfields into something special. From everything I have heard, he just seemed like the kind of man who everyone wanted to be around. I am sorry that I was never able to meet him.

The donations on Monday left me speechless. I can only imagine what those receiving felt. I don’t think anyone was expecting that amount of generosity, but it was special for sure. 

I know that Mr. Conner would be happy to see that money going back into the youth of Halifax County. It was always about the kids for him. Now the money he helped generate will continue to help the youth of Halifax County baseball and softball. 

Johnathan Kirland is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jkirkland@gazettevirginian.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnathanK_GV