Each and every August for the past ten years, Andy Crooks, CPA, shuts down his Hanover, PA office for a 10-day hiatus. His destination isn’t some Caribbean resort or European villa, with the intention of taking some well-deserved relaxing time away. He packs up his motorhome and travels to a campground in Harford County, Maryland, so that he can volunteer for the Cal Ripken World Series.
“I have been a baseball fan and an Orioles fan my whole life. Brooks Robinson was my hero from when I was a kid. My daughters were born right around the time Cal Ripken, Jr.’s career started, so my whole family has followed him from Day One. He became an icon in our family. When he retired, it left a little baseball void in our hearts.”
Fortunately for Crooks and countless other local fans, Ripken’s break from the game was brief. His Aberdeen-based company was founded soon after, and the community that adores him got a chance to connect with him once again.
“I was a contributor to both the Ripken Museum and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation,” said Crooks, “and I suppose I got on a mailing list because one day I got a piece requesting volunteers for the Cal Ripken World Series. My wife handed it to me and said, ‘You have to do this!’”
And do it, he did. Crooks is one of three CRWS Volunteers that has donated his time for all of the ten years Ripken’s complex has hosted the event on behalf of the Babe Ruth League so far.
According to Crooks, “There was no way I could pass up the opportunity to be a part of this great event. And I knew I didn’t want to just volunteer for a four-hour shift or two. I jumped in full-force and I volunteer every day. At first I drove back and forth [for ten days], racking up over a thousand miles. Since I started camping out instead, I cut my commute down to about 15 minutes,” he joked.
Even Crooks’ daughters and his two grandchildren join in the fun for a day or two as he volunteers.
“It’s an exciting thing to see,” Crooks said. “The complex is unbelievable, and watching it grow over the last 10 years has been wonderful.”
Crooks even displays a banner in front of his CPA office, promoting the Cal Ripken World Series to all of Hanover, and keeps past CRWS programs in his office waiting room for clients to peruse.
“The banner’s out there to say, ‘come on – this is awesome!’ It’s a great event at a special place. Seeing those boys play ball the way they do is so impressive – they’re 12 years old and incredible players. And what more could they want than to play ball at this amazing facility? It’s a great thing to see.”
For Andy Crooks, giving his time to the Cal Ripken World Series each year fulfills his desire to be involved with the game and the Ripken community. Each year he volunteers creates new memories with our staff, the local and international youth who play here, and his fellow volunteers.
“The volunteers I work with have become friends, and each World Series is like a family reunion. That’s why so many of us come back every year – this event is just neat, well-organized, and very high-quality.”
With volunteers like Andy Crooks, it always will be.