Three Decades of Service
Ralph Herndon Honored for 33 Years of Service
Ralph Herndon’s Little League story begins like most. Motivated by the drive to volunteer and "do his part,” Mr. Herndon’s first Little League experiences came as manager of his son Ralph’s team, but after 33 years, and with retirement from the program in sight, he will tell you that his No. 1 reason for staying involved is he loves working for the kids.
Georgia’s District 6 Administrator since 1983, Mr. Herndon, 79, was honored earlier this season by his home league, Masters City Little League in Augusta, Ga., with the presentation of a monument at the league’s field complex.
"It was surprising to me, even though I had talked to the guy making the monument,” Mr. Herndon, who managed or coached until 1980 and was elected as league president the same year, said. "When I talked to the fella making the monument, he asked me if there was anything I wanted on it. I asked him to put on the Little League pledge … To me that is the most important part, because those words mean so much to me.”
Ralph Herndon has been Georgia District 6 Administrator for 33 years. He is retiring from that position later this year, but before he does, his home league, Masters City Little League in Augusta, Ga., honored him with a special dedication. The stone monument was placed near the center of the Masters City Little League and was unveiled earlier this year.
During a ceremony earlier this year at Masters City Little League, a five-field complex in Augusta, Mr. Herndon and several members of his family were on hand to see the unveiling of a monument that will stand as a testament to his effort and commitment to Little League, but equally so to the belief he has in others to excel.
"When I looked at it for the first time it was overwhelming,” Mr. Herndon said of the monument located near the center of the Masters City Little League complex next to a flag pole proudly flying the American Flag. "I never gave selfishly,” he said. "I gave because I wanted to.”
Mr. Herndon played baseball as a teenager and spent some time on baseball fields during his years in the service in the early 1950s. Enlisting into the Navy out of high school, Mr. Herndon served four years and saw active duty during the Korean War (Oct. 1950-to-March 1951) aboard the USS Diachenko. A Corpsman 3rd Class, he was honorably discharged from the service in 1954, and moved from his hometown of Clearwater, S.C., to Augusta with his wife, June.
After re-locating to Georgia, Mr. Herndon went to work for the State’s Department of Human Resources in the Public Health Division, where he spent 44 years. Throughout those years, he developed a special appreciation for the physical and mental well being of children.
"Kids take away from the game what they, and adults, put in to it,” Mr. Herndon said. "Even today, kids still play to have fun. What I know to be fact is there is always someone watching you and others who will follow in your footsteps, so I decided to stay with Little League because I thought I could make a difference.
"I’ve worked with young people all of my adult life,” Mr. Herndon said. "My No. 1 reason for staying in Little League all these years is I love kids.”
Serving as league president for two years, Mr. Herndon’s energy and respect for the program impressed volunteers in neighboring leagues. In 1983, he was elected Georgia District 6 Administrator, a position he has proudly occupied for nearly 30 years.
In October 2010, he will enter semi-retirement from Little League as Vince Fernandez assumes the duties as the top volunteer administrator in Georgia District 6.
"I feel pretty good and I’m still getting around,” Mr. Herndon said. "I asked my wife, ‘what am I going to do after I’m done as DA?’ I figure I’ll still have a role in Little League and I plan to help out Vince.
"I’ve already given him the best advice I’ve got, and it’s the same advice I give to each of the district’s league presidents … go by the rulebooks and you won’t have any problems.”