OHIO VALLEY UNSUNG HEROES: Beckett’s friends giving back to their mentor

SHADYSIDE — Gene Beckett was a man who inspired others to give back.

A trio of those who knew him are doing just that.

Kurt Glasser, Bruce Eberle and Jared Trifonoff are the contacts for the inaugural Gene Beckett Memorial event.

The cornhole tournament is set for Saturday, Aug. 24 at noon at the youth ballfields in Tiger Town.

“We wanted to do something for Gene and in his memory as far as baseball,” Glasser said. “We wanted to do a fundraiser, and it’s kind of grown into something we’d like to do every year.”

Beckett, who died at age 71 on July 7, was retired from the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department and was a former Bellaire police officer. But he also loved youth sports and helping those in Shadyside achieve.

It was at his funeral, in fact, that the idea to do something to recognize Beckett’s importance to the community began.

“We have a couple of benches at the ballfield dedicated after people,” Glasser said, “and we at least wanted to that for Gene.

“Then, we started kicking around the ideas to raise money for the bench, and started talking about when we were younger and how he did things to raise money and do things.”

That’s when everyone knew they had try and do more. So, the idea to have the cornhole tournament emerged. Organizers thought it would be something easy to stage, have fun and allow, ultimately, the entire community to benefit.

“Gene’s two boys — Travis and Jamie — have been very supportive, too,” Glasser said.

As has the community. Glasser said the response to the initiative has been great, and he expects to receive more entries in the days leading up to the event.

“I think Gene would’ve been pumped,” Glasser said. “If he were in our shoes, he’d probably do the same thing, as long it’s giving back to the village and the kids.”

Frankly, Glasser said, that was his M.O. his entire life.

“He was a guy that knew everybody and he was friends with everybody,” he said. “He never said a bad word about anyone. He was just a great guy. He’d do anything for you.

“He was always kicking butt to get stuff done. He was the one that got the Shadyside pinto tournament started when we were kids.”

The youth facilities in Shadyside along Ohio 7 continue to grow, and Glasser hopes money raised through this event can continue to enhance their quality.

“We just want to make it a little nicer down there,” he said. “Not that it’s not nice now, but we’d just like to make some improvements.”

Such as lights on the mustang field, bathroom improvements and odds and ends.

“We’ve received a lot of support from local businesses that are donating money, food and different things toward this,” Glasser said.

Cost is $25 per team. First-place prize is $100, with $50 going to second. Presale T-shirts are available (don’t have to be a thrower) for $15 or two for $25. A limited amount of shirts will be available the day of the event, along with concessions. Pulled pork sandwiches and dinners will be available.

For more information, contact Glasser at (740) 312-8280, Eberle at (740) 359-2172 or Trifonoff at (740) 391-4449.

If you know of someone in sports in the Ohio Valley whom I could feature as an Ohio Valley Unsung Hero, drop me a line at rthorp@timesleaderonline.com or via Twitter @RickThorp1