|7/15/2017 4:00:00 AM|
for dad's legacy
|Times photo by Betsy Reason|
Bryan Mills and his mom, Michey Mills, with Bryan's sister, Zella Hendrickson (left) and Bryan's brother, Kent Mills (right) continue the legacy of the late Bobby Mills at the Field of Dreams baseball complex in Noblesville. A Bobby Mills Memorial Golf Outing is July 23-24 at Harbour Trees Golf Club in Noblesville.
For years, Bobby Mills would be out at his Field of Dreams, everyday, especially during the baseball season.
"It was his therapy," said Michey Mills of her late husband, who created a baseball complex of eight fully equipped diamonds that opened in 1999 next to Hazel Dell Elementary on school property on Indiana 32 in Noblesville.
Today, thanks to the late Bobby Mills, about 1,300 boys and girls, ages 3-12, within the Noblesville School district, annually play baseball on the complex's turf fields with scoreboards, lights, bleachers and dugouts. There are two towers, a concession stand, pavilion, restrooms, pitching practice area, batting cages and portable pitching mounds.
Bobby Mills came to Noblesville with his family in 1974, when the Maysville, Ky., native was promoted within Lorillard Tobacco Co., to a regional sales manager position in Indianapolis.
The family looked for a home in Hamilton County. "The Realtor brought us to South Harbour," said Michey, who with her son, Bryan Mills, and family sat down with me to share more of the Bobby Mills story.
Bobby Mills, a former baseball player who was drafted but never made it to the pros, spent the last dozen years of his life in Noblesville Youth Baseball, raising money and organizing the league and overseeing operations.
And even the first couple of years of the baseball complex, it had a gravel parking lot, that was almost like a "wasteland."
Bobby Mills made it affordable for children to play baseball and provided scholarships. "It's been the least expensive place to play ever...," said Bryan Mills, a 1978 Noblesville High School graduate, who is president and chief executive officer at Community Health Network.
Bryan Mills smiles about carrying on his father's legacy.
And how about "the town basically got behind us, and said, 'We'll help,'" Michey said.
"My dad thought every kid should play ball, and the price should not be a barrier. And if there was, you gotta figure out how to pay for it," Bryan Mills said.
Bobby Mills died in 2010, at age 71, after retiring 17 years earlier due to a heart condition. The Bobby Mills Memorial Golf Outing was born in 2012. "This is just a way to supplement bigger projects," said Bryan, who is promoting the sixth annual Bobby Mills Memorial Golf Outing set for July 23 and 24 at Noblesville's Harbour Trees Golf Club, where Bobby Mills was head of the Junior Golf program.
The money goes to help with facilities projects. "Dad had his vision of all of the stuff that we wanted to do," Bryan Mills said. So the Golf Outing proceeds are used to "things that he wanted to do to make this special." Turfing the eight fields, improving seating and safety for fans were among the projects. They may add more batting cages, fields and signage in the future.
"It's amazing to see this facility for the kids," Michey said as she smiled proudly. "The towers, are three stories. The top, I've spent a lot of time up there, the view is absolutely wonderful. And you can walk around and see all of the fields and all that's going on."
The sixth annual Bobby Mills Memorial Golf Outing is July 23 and 24 at Noblesville's Harbour Trees Golf Club, where Bobby Mills was head of the Junior Golf program. Bryan Mills on Friday said there was one more opening for a team. But he's not worried. "It's magical. It fills up each year."
Bryan Mills is thankful today for his father's legacy that lives on, thanks to the generosity of the community.
He said, "Every year, we get done and say, 'wow.'"
For more details or to make a donation, visit http://www.noblesvillebaseball.org or email BobbyMillsMemorial@gmail.com
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