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Bend Little League volunteer honored

Published On: Apr 12 2014 03:55:07 AM CDT   Updated On: Apr 12 2014 03:57:28 AM CDT

NewsChannel 21's John Hendricks reports on the work Jason Heffner of Bend has done over the years to improve Bend North Little League.

BEND, Ore -

The Bend Little League honored one of their own Friday night at their season-opening ceremony at Vince Genna Stadium. Jason Heffner had the dugouts named after him.

Several years ago, Heffner had a vision to build baseball diamonds for the growing Little League in Bend.

"Baseball around here in the winter is tough," Heffner said. "It's hard to keep kids interested in it because of the cold weather."

He began with a four-year plan to build dugouts, to give kids who might not make it to high school ball a way to experience the game the way it should be.

"You always here that about people: -- oh, that he would give the shirt off of his back. He's that kind of guy," friend Terry MacMillan said.

"He just never took no for an answer," another friend, Derek Gillespie said. "He had a vision of what he wanted to have done at those schools, and he went about making sure that it happened."

Heffner spent hours of his free time with his son and friends building the dugouts and putting up fencing at Sky View Middle School and Lava Ridge Elementary.

But pancreatic cancer slowed him down, taking many of his friends by surprise.

"He just was not going to take no for an answer, and from the very start he let us all know that he was going to get through this thing and get back to work," Gillespie said.

This week, he was cleared by his doctor to return to work.

"It was a tough battle, but I never doubted I would get through it," Heffner said.

MacMillan said, "He is an inspiration to us so much, especially the fight that he is going through now. It makes you want to give back to him, as he has given to all of us."

Heffner sadded, "I get phone calls and text messages from Little League kids that say 'good luck' and 'hang in there.' And things like that kept me going."

The Bend man says he is ready to get back to work, planning more projects to help the baseball community.


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