Lou Maglio’s Hometown Hero
WESTLAKE- Who are the true heroes in life? While it might be hard to define, exactly, when you see a hero, you know it and it’s hard for anyone to dispute.
I live in Westlake, and my Hometown Hero is a friend of mine named Jim Dispirito. Jim is the athletics coordinator for the Westlake Recreation Department and it is his dedication to others that really sets him apart.
When they say there’s something for everyone at Westlake Rec, they truly mean ‘everyone.’ The special needs community all too often gets left out when it comes to programs, but not in Westlake. And Jim is a driving force behind the programs geared toward the special needs community.
“We created VIP or the very important baseball league eight or nine years ago, and that kind of evolved into our slam dunkers basketball program. And in conjunction with Westlake Soccer they run the TOPS soccer program,” he said.
It is baseball season now and the baseball season is off to a great start with dozens of players and dozens of volunteers.
Jim said he gets more out of these programs than he puts in. “I was over at Clague Park Peterson Pool one day and there were several kids from the day camp over there. And they all turned around when I walked in and said hey, there’s our baseball coach. They came over and gave me a hug and everything and that says it all. They can say that’s MY baseball coach.”
He said the programs give parents the chance to sit back and relax and it gives the volunteers the chance to have an experience that changes their lives. But mostly, it gives the special needs athletes the chance to experience what all other youngsters experience.
The kids deserve it and Jim Dispirito makes sure they get it. That’s why he’s my Hometown Hero.