Mon, Jan. 20

CMS teacher Jayne Lee receives special honor

One local resident, and Cottonwood Middle School science teacher, has been recognized for all of her volunteer work she does for the Verde Valley Little League, an association she has been a part of in one way or another for 14 years.

"I'm very excited. It's a once I a lifetime thing," said Cottonwood resident Jayne Lee.

Lee has been an umpire for Little League for 10 years. As district administrator Brooks Bishop explains it, she has done just about every position, it seems like, in little league, and because of Bishop, Lee will get to add one more to her list.

Lee will be traveling to Kirkland, Wash. in August to be an umpire at the Junior Softball World Series. This is something that few people get to do, and not every umpire can go work the event.

"It gives me an opportunity to go elsewhere and volunteer my time, because it is all volunteer," Lee said. "Umpires that get paid, paid umpires locally, they don't get nominated. So, even at a state or regional level, for the world series, its just people that all volunteer their time."

Bishop first met Lee in 2003 at a softball tournament. Since then, the two have worked together to get certified in the league and taken different classes together, whether to be an umpire or district officer. Through this, Bishop has seen first hand the work that Lee has put into little league, something that she is more than happy to do it because of the benefits she sees it bringing to the community.

"She is someone who works extremely hard in working with the kids. She's there for the right reasons, for the kids," Bishop said. "She is a teacher there, in Verde Valley, in Cottonwood. She works for the kids and she puts forth and explains that it takes time to be with our program, our little league program, as an outstanding volunteer. And like I say, everything she does with us is as a volunteer."

For her part, Lee is excited about the opportunity to go umpire the Junior World Series, and continue her volunteer work. She said that helping out with little league has made a hug impact on her life and she hopes to be able to give back to the program.

"It's a huge part of my life," Lee said. "I get a lot back from the kids; I've been a coach and a board member. I've been an umpire; I think I've worked all aspects of it. I think it's really important, that's why I do it every year, and I think it makes for better kids in our community and it makes our community a better place. But I just believe in little league and what it stands for. Sportsmanship is very important to them and everyone plays and it does take people who volunteer to make it work."

Bishop nominated Lee because of all the time she has put in and her dedication. He described her as, "a single mom, she's raised her kids well. When I say she's dedicated, she's not just doing the little league volunteer; she's a teacher [also]. She earned her teaching certificate, and her teaching degree. She's earned an EMT certificate and passes the state licensing. She works as a teacher, she works at the Verde Valley Medical Center, in the emergency room."

Lee said she is honored to be selected, to be a part of the officiating crew in Kirkland and plans to take advantage of this "once in a lifetime type of thing," by being there for the kids.

"Its what little league is about, its about volunteering your time to be there for kids and you try to do the best that you can, so that you're doing what's best for the kids, because you want them to love the game and if they don't have people out there trying to do their best, then they're out there trying to do their best, and its hard for them," Lee said.

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