The Miracle League of Southwestern PA

Every Child Deserves a Chance to Play

Citizen and Business of the Year named by The Chamber, Community Chest

The designation of this year’s outstanding individual and business in Cranberry Township is now official for 2011. The Chamber of Commerce, Inc. and the Cranberry Township Community Chest (CTCC) announced the honorees for 2011. They are UPMC Passavant Cranberry as Business of the Year, and resident Mike Sherry as Citizen of the Year.

UPMC, Southwestern Pennsylvania’s largest employer, which includes its Passavant Cranberry campus in the Township, was also recently named among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. One of just 14 hospitals to be so honored, it was the 11th time UPMC had received that recognition.

The CTCC/Chamber designation not only affirms UPMC’s role as a leader in providing Cranberry residents with advanced medical treatment, it also recognizes UPMC’s commitment to bettering life in the many communities it serves. Locally, in addition to clinical practice and educational outreach, UPMC provided the funding to launch CTCC’s first Annual Report, following its reorganization four years ago.

UPMC has also partnered with the Township government in providing close coordination and leadership affecting the community’s public safety functions. And recently, it gave permission to place CTCC’s new community information sign on its property at the corner of Routes 19 and 228. For all that and more, UPMC was named Business of the Year, 2011.

While working for a previous employer, Cranberry resident Mike Sherry had the opportunity to see a Miracle League baseball game being played in Alabama. It made a lasting impression and when, some years later, his own daughter was diagnosed with autism, the significance of the Miracle League and the opportunity it opened for children with disabilities became both immediate and personal. As a Little League coach for the Cranberry Township Athletic Association, Sherry was keenly aware that allowing children with disabilities to play required special League permission – a situation he felt should be remedied by extending Alabama’s Miracle League model to his own home town.

For several years, Sherry and his wife Chris carried out a high-energy campaign to convince local parents, businesses, sports associations, foundations and public officials to support the idea. With the planned construction of Cranberry’s new Graham Park on the near horizon, they knew the timing was right. And when the Pirates Charities and player Freddy Sanchez came on board, things fell quickly into place.

Today, the unique playing field is paved with a rubber surface that enables athletes with walkers and wheelchairs to move around the bases safely. Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania hosted its grand opening on May 16, 2009. The organization has received support from more than 600 local volunteers and attracted more than 300 sponsors and financial donors.

In recognition of his enthusiastic leadership, Mike Sherry was named the Post-Gazette’s 2010 Jefferson Award Winner and the CTCC-Chamber Citizen of the year 2011.

The actual awards will be presented July 7th at the Four Pillar Luncheon hosted by THE CHAMBER, CTCC and the Cranberry Alliance. An endowment for UPMC and Mike Sherry will be established with the Cranberry Legacy Endowment, which will be highlighted in the next CTCC- Annual Report being issued in June, two weeks in advance of Community Days.