Nearly 60 utility workers and tree crew specialists are being temporarily housed and nearly 140 workers are being fed at Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida as Indian River County homes and businesses recover from Hurricane Irma’s damage. The men are staying in the hotel villa rooms and are being fed a hot breakfast and dinner each day in the dining room, and box lunches are provided for all.
Many of the crews were staged at Historic Dodgertown before the hurricane made land, ensuring quick service and response as soon as it was safe to get to work.
The crews hail from Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and even from Vero Beach. The mutual aid assistance is a welcome sight for the community.
For many of the men, this is their first time in Florida and for visiting Historic Dodgertown.
Upon entering the dining room, they are greeted with historic Dodger photographs displayed throughout, featuring Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Johnny Podres, Hideo Nomo, Chan Ho Park, Mike Piazza, Orel Hershiser and more.
One crew member from Louisiana stood in awe of photos of Duke Snider and said, “He could hit!”
Nelson from Mississippi said this was his first visit to Vero Beach and complimented the facility and city.
Marty and Mike, both from the City of Vero Beach Electric department, recall their memories of visiting Dodgertown.
Marty shared memories of his utility colleagues climbing up the tall wooden light poles, to fix the lights (since replaced by state-of-the-art Musco Lighting).
For Mike, he vividly remembers watching Dodger games from the outfield berm seating area. He recalled a Dodger-Red Sox Spring Training game, and ‘Big Papi’ (David Ortiz) putting on a Home Run Derby-type show for fans and hitting balls over the outfield wall.
The greatest surprise came when Mark, also of Vero Beach Electric, walked into the dining room and saw former high school classmate and current Historic Dodgertown employee Freddie. They had not seen each other since graduation in 1975.
Following dinner, some of the men catch a pick-up game at the on-site basketball courts. For them, it’s all in a day’s work. For residents and business, they are a lifeline.
Said Historic Dodgertown Vice President Craig Callan: “It is always a pleasure to work with the City of Vero Beach and John O’Brien. Over the years when a natural disaster hits, they know they can count on Historic Dodgertown to do what we do best, and that is in taking care of their crews, they in turn can get Vero Beach residents the assistance they need as quickly as possible.”
Historic Dodgertown is pleased to welcome these men, and we thank them for their service to the community.