Saturday marked the third straight year that friends and family remembered the life of Joe Karnes by holding the Joe Karnes Memorial Softball Tournament.
Despite the fear of low numbers, the tournament once again had a strong turnout.
"Well, this year was a little more difficult because there was a lot of weddings and other things going on, so we weren't sure about the numbers," Tournament Coordinator, Casey Mazurek said. "We ended up with 13 teams, so I think that just shows how much people cared about Joe Karnes and how much this means to the community."
OBSERVER?Photos by Sean Pecuch
The Fourth Annual Joe Karnes Memorial Softball Tournament was held in Dunkirk on Saturday. Pictured at left is Joe Bauza taking a swing. At right is Jason Whitfield delivering a pitch.
One of the ideas that Mazurek had in setting up the tournament was to represent Karnes by doing something he spent his entire life doing - volunteering.
"I think it is a big deal to have it because it is a good representation of what Joe meant to people," Mazurek said. "Volunteering was so important to him and this just shows how important that was to the community. He was a fantastic person and made such a huge impact on so many people's lives."
It took more than just one day of people volunteering their time, as weeks of preparation went into the event."We had a ton of help once again this year," Mazurek said. "Everyone was extremely helpful in the small things. The umpires are donating their time, so that was so fantastic to have a group of people who were willing to do that."
Giving back is another example of what Karnes stood for and the community has rallied around the idea to produce scholarships and other donations to help the community.
"There were a lot of donations, both monetary and items, for the Chinese auction," Mazurek said. "There were two scholarship recipients this year, Kevin Holmes and Aldyn Carlson, from Dunkirk. We also donated some money to the Fredonia Little League program. We are open to suggestions of places to donate some money to. We just want to send some money towards things that Joe would have wanted to help."
With another successful year in the books, those involved will look to continue the event for years to come as they remember a very important man in the community.