Marion Firefighter Pvt. Tino Mitchener is paying forward his passion for baseball through coaching and, more recently, accepting a challenge to take over Marion Youth Baseball. Two years ago, Mitchener was asked to take over the league from Marion Community Schools. Through coordination of Mayor Alumbaugh and the Marion Fire Department, Mitchener was relocated to the fire station nearest Lincoln Field so that he could feasibly address the community need and run the league. The 10-year head coach of the Marion Professional Firefighters Local 676 Team is now the Commissioner of the overall city league, now called Marion Babe Ruth Baseball.
“The best years of my life were right here on this field. When I learned there was a need to pick up the league, I had no hesitation. Programs like these are very important to these kids, so my goal is to give them the same experience I had,” said Mitchener.
Mitchener’s wife and two teen boys, as well as his fellow firefighters, help him maintain the field. “It’s a hurdle being on shift 24 hours, but being close to the field and having flexibility from the guys on my truck allows me to pull double-duty through more of a group effort,” he explained.
Fire Chief Paul David thanked Mitchener for consistently striving to better the community in different ways, in and outside his work scope. “Tino is a great asset to MFD and the community. He has always stepped up to the plate for CPR instructing. For youth baseball, he has given our youth a sense of normalcy by advocating to continue this year’s games in the midst of COVID-19. This shows Tino’s heart is not only with his family and his career as a firefighter, but with the community as a whole.”
This season did not include a tournament, but provided a 7‑week season of competitive games for the kids. Marion Babe Ruth Baseball has approximately 250 kids from ages 5 – 12 each year, with some joining from other communities.
Mitchener has been volunteering his time to foster youth baseball during his entire career with MFD which began in 2010.