Extra Effort: Volunteering In Eureka, Coach Dan Stitzel

Local Sports

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — When COVID-19 chased people away from gyms, Dan Stitzel still found a way to give some private baseball lessons.

He held them in garages.

“If (players) have the facility right outside their house, in their garage, they don’t have to go to a private facility,” Stitzel said. “(Practice) is going to get done more often.”

Stitzel doesn’t take any money for his lessons. Instead, he asks for donations to the baseball team at Eureka College, where he serves as a volunteer coach.

“In Division III we are always trying to fundraise,” said Stitzel. “This is a chance to make a connection with the public and our program. Who knows? You might get a future player out of it.”

‘Volunteer’ might be Stitzel’s middle name. When he came on the Eureka baseball staff four years ago, he asked the players to join him in volunteering at the Special Olympics state bowling tournament.

And they’ve done it every year since.

“I was brought up to appreciate what you have,” said Stitzel, who will retire from Caterpillar at the end of the month. “There’s a very small percentage of them who will be professionals in their sport. But they can be professionals in volunteering and looking for other opportunities.”

Eureka head baseball coach Jerry Rashid calls Stitzel an inspiration.

“He’s one of those guy, very service-minded. He volunteers,” Rashid said. “The things that you wouldn’t find time to do in your own life, he finds time to do it.”

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