Typically, monuments and memorials are saved for those who’ve reached their twilight, an elder generation with great accomplishments to their credit. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the natural order of things.
Joe Strasler didn’t get that chance, but the impact of the young man’s life can be felt nonetheless.
Less than a year after his untimely death, the memory of Strasler continues to grow. And with each passing day, rather than fade away, his memory — now almost a legacy — gets stronger.
Strasler’s story has been well documented.
Strasler was just 16 when he died in a car accident while heading to school on an early February morning. A very likeable boy, he had strong ties in Tullahoma, where he grew up, and Lynchburg, where he attended high school.
His family is also deep-rooted in the sports community. His uncle played baseball at Mississippi State and his cousins played baseball and softball at Middle Tennessee State. Former major league pitcher Dewon Brazelton was every bit part of Strasler’s family as well.
Strasler himself loved the game too. He played his youth baseball in Tullahoma, from T-ball all the way through middle school, and he continued to play after transferring to Moore County High School.
After his death, his parents, Jon and Dede, decided to honor him by building an indoor hitting and pitching facility at Moore County High School. The complex — scheduled to be built between the softball and baseball fields on the MCHS campus — will serve as a reminder of Strasler’s love of baseball, his friends and his classmates.
It will also undoubtedly fill a much-needed void for the Moore County baseball and softball teams. But naturally, such an undertaking takes money.
To build the new facility, the family set a goal of $45,900. And they’re remarkably close to achieving it.
After Strasler’s death, the outpouring of support was overwhelming. In lieu of flowers, the family received more than $12,000 from friends in the two communities. And another $9,400 was raised in the fall during a chili supper before Moore County’s football game against Cascade.
The family’s latest endeavor — Batting for Joe — has been fueled with the help of Facebook.
A fledgling artist, Strasler’s mom has used her gift to continue the fundraising effort. With the help of her sister-in-law, Diane Darlington, and other family members, the Batting for Joe page on Facebook was created.
“The photo album says ‘Inspired by Joe,’ and it is,” said Darlington, who helped launce the page three weeks ago.
Now, anyone who wants to make a donation may do so by looking through pieces of art that have been created using a variety of mediums. They can make the requested donation and in return get a beautiful piece of art, which is essentially extending Joe’s memory even further.
Read the complete story in this week’s (Jan. 24) print edition of The Moore County News. (Click here to subscribe to the print or online edition of The Moore County News)
By ROBERT HOLMAN (Robert Holman is the editor of the Moore County News. He can be reached at email@example.com)