//Valdosta City Councilman Andy Gibbs Honored as Volunteer of the Year by Georgia Parks and Recreation Association

Valdosta City Councilman Andy Gibbs Honored as Volunteer of the Year by Georgia Parks and Recreation Association

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VALDOSTA – On Thursday, December 06, 2018, Valdosta City Councilmember Andy Gibbs was honored as the State Volunteer of the Year by the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association. Gibbs was recognized for his dedication in bringing a Miracle League and Miracle League facilities to Valdosta.

“Councilmember Gibbs is an individual who many years ago saw something on TV and it piqued his interested about a program for children with disabilities. He didn’t sit on the sidelines, he made a couple phone calls to the national Miracle League asking why that opportunity couldn’t be brought to Valdosta,” said Steve Card, Executive Director of Georgia Recreation and Parks Association. “This is an individual who is one that goes out and rallies the troops and brings a lot to the table. Its people like him and others in your community that we are proud to be able to have part of Parks and Recreation departments across the state, to have pride and loyalty.”

The Miracle League of Valdosta is an organization that removes the barriers which keeps children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime. Since the main barriers for these adults arise from the natural grass fields used in conventional leagues, Miracle League teams play on a custom-designed, rubberized turf field that accommodates wheelchairs and other assertive devices while helping to prevent injuries.

In 2014, Gibbs formed the Miracle League of Valdosta.  He and the MLV Board raised $1.5 million to build a new Miracle Field Complex that is near completion at Freedom Park. Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation (VLPRA) and the Miracle League of Valdosta have worked together to make this project successful. The complex will have a two-dimensional rubberized Miracle Field with fully accessible dugouts, a fully accessible concession stand and restroom building, a fully accessible pavilion, and a boundless playground where children of all abilities can play together.  The Miracle Field will be flanked by four standard baseball/softball fields to highlight inclusivity.

“To have this award means a lot to me but at the same time there are a lot of people behind the scenes who helped make this possible and make a dream of mine become a reality.” said Gibbs.