WILKES-BARRE — With beautiful fall weather, this Saturday should be a great one for playing softball, honoring a loved one and breaking the stigma at the 5th Annual Colin R. McLean Memorial Softball Tournament at Kirby Park.
McLean, 27, died on July 21, 2018, of a fentanyl overdose. His parents, Janet and Ray, established the Colin R. McLean Memorial Fund to help others struggling with substance abuse.
“We put it out that he was struggling with drug addiction and, you know, what he died of, and that we promised to try to make something positive out of this tragedy,” explained Janet McLean.
Money raised through the fund goes directly back to those in need. McLean explained that the funds could go toward things like helping with travel costs to rehabs for those who may have burned family bridges because of their addiction, or paying for stays in sober living facilities. They even have a scholarship to send the kids to Camp Kresge, where Colin was once a counselor.
Colin also went to Clearbrook Treatment Centers and that’s why Clearbrook brought the team to the tournament. There are benches dedicated to Colin’s memory at both Camp Cresge and Clearbrook, where Janet is scheduled to perform Friday at 2 p.m.
The tournament itself starts at 8 am and lasts until the end of the games. State Representative Aaron Kaufer will be on hand to speak at 1:30 p.m
There will be pizza for the softball players, donated by Pizza Bella, Checkerboard and Bud’s Pizza. There will also be donation baskets for the raffle, 50/50 and merchandise that will be available at the Martz Pavilion.
The event has grown over the past five years. Although it was born out of tragedy, it brings people together with a common goal: to break the stigma of addiction.
“I’ve had neighbors for over 30 years come to check on Colin and say, ‘I never knew he had a problem,'” McLean explained, describing her son as “Mr. Clean cut, athletic” who was very active in the Kingston softball community, outgoing and funny.
“He was such a bright light,” she said.
For more information about the Colin R. McLean Memorial Fund, visit www.colinrmacleanfund.com.
Saturday’s event is free to attend, but players do pay a fee and people are encouraged to enter raffles and purchase merchandise. All proceeds go back to supporting the McLean mission.
And keep an eye out for the CRM 42 team, named after Colin, the number 42 representing his favorite Yankee, Mariano Rivera.