Some dreams do come true. And, Effingham County is benefitting from a dream of one certain man, Josh Reddick. Josh is a former SEHS standout and now a member of the Houston Astro’s World Series Championship team.
The Josh Reddick Stadium recently opened at the Clarence E. Morgan Recreational Complex, a dream Josh has had since he was in junior high school.
The Josh Reddick Stadium has a unique field, unlike any other in the county, or in the state for that matter. This field is entirely wheelchair accessible. The stadium has an all turf field and is accessible to all children, including those with special needs. The stadium is also fully decked out with a 10-foot by 36-foot scoreboard, covered seating with fans to cool off on those hot days and a brick dugout.
“This is a dream that I have been wanting to come true, and now that it is here, it is definitely heartwarming,” Josh says. “I think the biggest moment of it was seeing the teams that played on it. We have a group called the Effingham Navigators, a group we sponsor for, and we couldn’t think of anyone else who should be able to play the first game there,” he adds.
The Effingham County Navigator Team, made of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their siblings, played the inaugural game, and the entire team wore Reddick’s number 22.
By “we,” Josh is referring to himself and the Josh Reddick Foundation Board of Directors. Since its inception in 2014, The Josh Reddick Foundation has been on a mission to advocate for the youth of Effingham County with a focus on supporting students, preserving recreational parks, and helping those in need.
The Josh Reddick Foundation puts on charitable events annually to raise money for county needs and provides money for four college scholarships (two boys and two girls) at South Effingham and Effingham County high schools.
Josh was nearly 2,500 miles from home in Anaheim for a game during the stadium opening, Foundation President Trey Saxon says seeing Reddick’s dream become a reality is surreal.
“When you make it celebrity status if you want to call it – it’s weird for me to say that – you kind of get to pick what you leave behind or what you want your legacy to be, “For Josh to pick a baseball field, that’s pretty cool, “Trey expresses.
Saxon said the stadium’s longevity will likely outlive them and be a place their children and grandchildren can play.
Clarence Morgan, Effingham County Recreation Director and the namesake of the Clarence E. Morgan Recreational Complex feels the same way and said he’s grateful Reddick hasn’t lost sight of his roots.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “I was watching the Astros Network about 18 months ago, and they were talking about one of the ballplayers who had done something for the community. I told my wife, ‘Josh is going to do that for us one day,’ and within two months, I got a call from Trey. In a little more than a year, we had it built.”
Clarence, who has known Josh since he was a youngster playing ball within the recreation department, continues to be amazed by the generosity of Effingham’s favorite son. “It’s a field of dreams come true,” he says.
The Josh Reddick Stadium, which resembles the new, state-of-the-art minor-league stadiums, only continues Josh’s local legacy. Those close to the project couldn’t have been more excited to unveil the stadium to the public. “That’s probably one of the coolest things to see, a vision become a reality, that’s even cool in itself but for something to come out way more exceptional than you already expected … that’s even cooler to be able to come out and be a part of something like that,” said Trey.
“It’s hard to describe this facility,” Clarence said. “I call the stadium the Lamborghini and the rest of the complex, the Cadillac. This is an amazing facility. Our grand opening is just what we had hoped for… a family affair. We had a great turnout.”
There is no doubt this stadium will be used by hundreds of thousands of kids over the next several decades. This million dollar stadium given to the county by Josh and his Foundation, is a gift that one could never put a price tag on. The joy of the children’s faces seen by the many crowds visiting this Josh Reddick Stadium is priceless.
Josh Reddick Stadium is definitely a Grand Slam for Effingham County.
JOSH REDDICK FOUNDATION
Our mission is to be an advocate for the youth and those in need in our community.
Since its inception in 2014, The Josh Reddick Foundation has been on a mission to advocate for the youth of Effingham County with a focus on supporting students, preserving recreational parks, and helping those in need.
The foundation hosts all charitable events in Effingham County and the money raised is given back to the community. Portions of all money raised go toward the recreation departments as well as the sheriff’s office, fire departments, animal shelters, the Manna House, the Treutlan House and more.
The foundation gives money back to the Board of Education by being a platinum level sponsor to both Effingham County High and South Effingham High. They also gave money to each elementary school this year and have plans to give to each middle school in the Effingham School District.
Athletics are not the only focus of the Foundation. Each year the organization awards four graduating seniors, one male and one female from each high school, a $1000 college scholarship for academic excellence. The foundation also awards a male and female high school “Athlete of the Month” every month.
On top of donations and fundraising events, Josh himself comes home during the offseason and gives back with his time. Some of the many things you can find Josh doing is reading to the elementary schools, doing speaking engagements around the county, and visiting sick children in the hospital to lift their spirits.
Trey Saxon, President
Donna Sheppard, Secretary
Jan Landing, Treasurer
Brian Coulter, Financial
Dino Oliver, Production Manager
Julie Hales, Marketing Director