View Mobile Site

Al Nunes & Bob Raymus: 2 true heroes

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED February 21, 2010 1:34 a.m.
You don’t have to look too far to find the real heroes in America today.

You won’t find them in places like the Astrodome, AT&T Park, or Dodgers Stadium.

They aren’t pulling down $400,000 per baseball game nor do they have their images on the side of boxes of Wheaties.

Instead you’ll find them at places like Brock Elliott School, Neil Hafley School, and Lincoln Park on spring afternoons.

They’re men like Al Nunes and Bob Raymus who take the time to serve as mentors of young boys.

Adults – men and women - who give their time to community youth whether it is coaching, organizing or supporting various recreation sports leagues or running programs such as 4-H and Scouting – are arguably Manteca’s most valuable asset.

They’re not taking time away from family and personal pursuits to foster an up and coming baseball player such as Matt Berezay who first picked up a bat as a Manteca Little League player and is now part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

They are out there to serve as role models for young people. The odds are overwhelmingly against most of the boys they coach even playing high school baseball let alone playing in the pros.

The reason they are doing it is they know that boys need direction and need to feel like they belong. They know it is less important that kids learn to hit a cut-off man perfectly than it is to learn respect, teamwork, and the value of hard work.

Nunes, who founded A.C. Trucking, was one of the three people who helped launch Manteca Little League in 1984. Nunes and two friends scrapped together $600 – a princely sum back then – to buy equipment for that first season. Nunes also got service clubs in Manteca together – Rotarians, Lions, and Kiwanians – to build baseball fields at Lincoln Park.

Twenty-six years later, Manteca’s first Little League is still going strong.

Raymus – a partner in Raymus Homes: The Next Generation - started coaching when his kid wanted to play. But when his son was through Raymus kept coaching. He even came back after he “retired” when there was a shortage of coaches.

Both Nunes and Raymus also have been active in other youth groups and service club efforts. Nunes is a Manteca Rotarian. Raymus is an active member of the HOPE Family Shelter board.

Nunes, Raymus and Berezay are being inducted as the first class of the Manteca Little League Hall of Fame. Nunes is going in as a founder, Raymus as a coach, and Berezay as a player.

The ceremonies are part of a dinner-dance on Saturday, Feb. 27, to raise funds for the Little League program. It starts at 6 p.m. at the MRPS Hall, 133 N. Grant St. Tickets are $30 per person.
Tickets are available from any board member, team coach, or by calling 603-2140.

It might make Nunes happy to know that Manteca Little League registration numbers are up 40 percent over last season.

It’s been 26 years since Nunes made sure that the first pitch could be thrown. Since then well over 5,000 boys – and girls – have worn the uniforms of Manteca Little League players.

Since 1984 Nintendo, cable TV, the Internet, X-Boxes and more have ended up jockeying for the attention of youth.

But in the end, the things that really count in a kid’s life will be adults taking time to mentor them and to help them learn to throw a ball, tie a slip knot, appreciate the wonder of Mother Nature, or someone to simply talk to and listen to them who aren’t their parents.

It means a lot to a kid to know that they are accepted and that people care about them.
Nunes and Raymus are two men who understand that as well as legions of others just like them who every spring give of their time to help kids play America’s pastime.

And you can bet that Berezay appreciates the help he received along the way. The odds are he won’t tell you it was being shown how to swing a bat that made a difference in his life but the fact that others cared to help him along the way to adulthood.
Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...