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Booster Days funds youth sports program

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Tom Boron's volunteer position carries more responsibility than a lot of paying jobs.

As president of the Hudson Boosters, Boron oversees a program currently providing 1,000 Hudson-area boys and girls the opportunity to play organized baseball and softball. This fall, 200 or more fifth- and sixth-graders will play Booster tackle football.

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The organization owns enough uniforms, balls, bats, bases, chest protectors, shin guards, catcher's masks and uniforms to fill a shed. And that's just the equipment for baseball and softball season. It also stocks roughly 200 football helmets and full sets of pads.

Its 74 baseball and softball teams play on about 16 fields in and around Hudson that need to be kept groomed. Games are being played most nights of the week during June and July, and each one needs an umpire. Each team needs coaches. Rained-out games have to be rescheduled. Somebody has to listen to parents' complaints.

And that's just the athletic program. Organizing Booster Days, the organization's annual Fourth of July weekend fund-raiser, is a whole 'nother set of chores.

Thankfully, Boron doesn't have to do it alone. He says there's a dedicated group of about 40 Booster members that share the work, along with a corps of associate members who help out during Booster Days and the parents who coach the baseball, softball and football teams.

Boron was elected Boosters president by the membership last January after a three-year stint as treasurer. His regular job is that of director of computer services for St. Croix County, a position he's held for the past three years. Before that, he held the same position with Erickson's Diversified Corp. for 10 years and was Hudson Memorial Hospital's computer specialist for four and a half years.

Boron, like many Booster members, got involved with the organization through his children. All five of his children, from 21-year-old Jason to 10-year-old Zachary, have played or are currently playing Booster ball. He has two children with his wife, Denise, and three from a previous marriage.

He and Denise are busy four nights a week coaching or attending their children's games. Zach's Gray Machine Pitch II team plays Monday and Wednesday evenings, and 12-year-old daughter Bailey's Navy Junior Fast Pitch team plays Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Boron joined the Boosters eight years ago when he and his family moved to a house across the road from Dave Lee, a former Boosters president.

"With a little arm-twisting and going down and attending a meeting, lo and behold, I became a member," he reports. "From there, the interest in it just grew."

"It's a real good group of guys," he added. Plus, "it's nice to be able to provide these kids with the opportunity to play ball."

The importance of Booster Days to the youth sports organization shouldn't be underestimated, Boron said.

The celebration has generated roughly $25,000 in revenue each of the past couple of years to help fund an annual budget of roughly $120,000. Without that income, the organization would have to increase its participation fees, he said.

"It all goes back into providing for these kids."

For more information about the Hudson Boosters, go to the organization's Web site, www.hudsonboosters.org.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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