October 22, 2021

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‘Ballpark family’ aids son of fallen seatmate open BBQ stand at Werner Park

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — Two seats in Segment 118 stand out from the sea of environmentally friendly chairbacks at the Omaha Storm Chasers’ residence industry in suburban Sarpy County, Werner Park.

Just one is wrapped pink for year ticketholder Connie Fischer, a breast most cancers survivor. She however attends games with her relatives, who lined the seat after she defeat again the ailment in 2019.

The other seat is wrapped in Chicago Cubs shades for Jerry Strawn, a retired Papillion law enforcement officer and Omaha firefighter who died in 2015 although shoveling his walk.

John Strawn

John Strawn sees his dad’s memorial seat for the 1st time

Each have been key parts of a ballpark relatives of period ticket holders who commenced sitting alongside one another in 2011 when the Omaha area’s minor league baseball club moved out to the burbs.

Months following Jerry died, seatmates pooled alongside one another and compensated to hold his seat vacant. Former Sarpy County Election Commissioner Wayne Bena assisted manage the work.

He knew Strawn from acquiring grown up with his sons and was a person of a main group who received together behind the third-base dugout and dished every summer season on their lives, cherished types and baseball.

“It was a relatives,” Bena said. “He got right here 1st usually, commonly. And the rest of us had to (appear from) get the job done. He would say, ‘Hey buddy how ya executing?’ He produced you feel like you have been the only a single there.”

A few in the team stepped up once more throughout the coronavirus pandemic when Jerry’s son, John, sought buyers for his Papillion cafe, Papio Pit BBQ in close proximity to South 72nd Road and Highway 370.

This 7 days, Strawn’s son and spouse and children of seatmates opened a second locale at Werner Park. On Tuesday, they started off providing John Strawn’s brisket at a appropriate field stand in view of dad’s seat.

Strawn Family

John Strawn

Jerry with John and a grandchild

John Strawn’s eyes welled up in advance of the to start with pitch. He claimed he could feel his dad’s existence at the ballpark.

“Opening the stand over there, you appear from the stand you see the seat,” he claimed. “You glance from the seat, you see the stand. It is a entire circle, dream occur genuine variety of factor that is all about this area.”

The a few family members who invested – Bena, the Fischers and Papillion Town Councilwoman Lu Ann Kluch – took turns performing a shift on Tuesday. They took a pair of innings each and every to employees the stand and get it likely.

Jerry’s baseball family members said they experienced no choice but to aid. They understood he put them collectively.

“He knew … it’s possible his son required a minimal support,” Bena claimed. “And he’s serving to me. And he’s serving to the other season ticketholders recover, mourn. And have a minor much more that means at the ballpark.”

It is aspect of why Bena and other seatmates continue to deliver baseballs to hand to small young children — like Jerry did.

John Strawn mentioned he could not have opened a ballpark stand with out their aid. He claimed they served him via some difficult periods in the two and a 50 percent several years he’s been open. He claimed he will make positive his company hires former felons to give them a next possibility like he got.

Right before he bought his first plate of barbecue in the ballpark – loaded mac and cheese with brisket to this reporter for 3 Information Now – he claimed he could not have requested for a better Father’s Working day present.

His little ones will get to see dad’s small business in the place where grandpa cherished to be. The Storm Chasers host the Louisville Bats this week and weekend.

“You hope you do him very pleased,” Strawn mentioned, tearing up. “You hope you can stay up to the legacy that he remaining. This as a son is a probability for me to do exactly that. I know he’s smiling.”

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