DAVID DORSEY, DDORSEY@NEWS-PRESS.COM 3:59 p.m. EDT August 17, 2016
Donny Overholser has spent the bulk of his life as a Little League volunteer in Fort Myers.
This week, the 63-year-old Fort Myers resident, Fort Myers High School graduate and longtime volunteer at Bishop Verot High School, will be honored for his efforts in youth baseball and softball.
Little League Baseball selected Overholser, president of Fort Myers American Little League, as its 2016 International Volunteer of the Year.
“I’m extremely honored,” said Overholser, who traveled from Fort Myers to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday.
Little League, which is paying for his travel and food expenses through Monday, will honor Overholser with an on-field ceremony before the 8 p.m. Saturday United States game at Lamade Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN. The ceremony might not be shown on TV, Little League spokesman Scott Rosenberg said.
“Someone asked me what would be better, me being volunteer of the year, or us winning a (baseball) World Series,” Overholser said. “Well, I’d really be honored to be volunteer of the year, but winning a World Series is the best. The best. Lee County had never had a team win a World Series.”
The District 9 Senior All-Star softball team, comprised of players ages 13-16 from Greater Fort Myers and Cape Coral Little Leagues, became the first Lee County team to win a Little League World Series in Delaware last week. No area Little League baseball team has won a World Series.
“Just to get to the World Series is really hard,” said Overholser, who is in his 48th year volunteering for Little League in Fort Myers.
Overholser follows Sam Fleishman, a founder of Little League in Lee County, as the second Fort Myers man to receive the volunteer recognition. Fleishman earned his in 1989. Overholser nominated Fleishman for that award.
Overholser has developed a large following in Fort Myers.
Last year, when Overholser faced some health and car problems, the community rallied around him. More than 300 of his longtime friends and supporters combined to raise more than $40,000 to fund a new car and his medical expenses.
Dan Mills, vice president of Fort Myers American Little League, applauded Overholser.
“Well, I certainly think it’s well-deserved,” Mills said. “The amount of time he has put into that organization is just staggering when you think about it. I’ve been involved with the league for over five years now. That seems like a long time. I can’t imagine doing it for as long as Donny. He’s one of a kind. You could never replace a guy like Donny.”
Little League has lined up daily activities for Overholser, who will be on hand for the opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. Thursday at Volunteer Stadium.
“It’s a great thing for our league,” Mills said. “Coming off our softball World Series performance, the timing for Donny is perfect.
Connect with this reporter: David Dorsey (Facebook), @DavidADorsey (Twitter).