The Community Helper series continues by recognizing the work of lifelong sports fan and community volunteer, Mark Kirchner of Clintonville.
Mark is well known for his support of Clintonville athletics. Most notably, he’s now in his 10th year as scoreboard operator and public address announcer for the Clintonville baseball team, which is something he took an interest in a decade ago. Mark has shown no signs of slowing down and he says there’s a big reason for that
“It’s the kids that keep bringing me back,” Kirchner noted. “It’s the high spirit in them and the competitiveness. In my involvement with the community, I do other things outside of sports that keep my busy and keep my day going. That’s what keeps my life going. I consider that a part of my community and I continue to do this until God tells me it’s time to step away.”
While Mark holds a passion for working in sports, he also enjoys providing other services to the Clintonville community
“I do volunteer Meals on Wheels for the Clintonville Community Center to deliver meals to homebound senior citizens that can’t make it out to the senior center for daily meals,” Kirchner said of his work. “I do that two or three times a week. It’s very exciting to deliver meals because you lift up the spirits of those seniors that can’t make it out, to know that there are people there that care about them and to deliver the meals.”
On top of that service, which he began volunteering for more recently, Kirchner is also a trained severe weather spotter during this time of year for the Clintonville area, which he’s been doing over the past decade. Training classes are put on for free and he recommends anyone with an interest in weather to take up the hobby.
“When a severe thunderstorm watch or tornado watch comes out, you have to watch the sky and monitor the radar and weather conditions very closely for the next four to six hours,” explained Kirchner. “When you see something pop up on the radar and you detect hail, damaging winds, flash flooding, or tornados, you have to report it to the National Weather Service blotter hotline.”
Kirchner adds that the National Weather Service then takes the information he, or any other trained spotter provides and disseminates it. As Severe Weather Awareness Week concluded last week, he recommends that everyone be wary of weather conditions, especially during this time of year.
“Severe weather can pop up at any time. It doesn’t matter if it’s day, night, overnight or early morning hours. Be weather aware. Have that weather radio ready and on stand-by mode just in case if severe weather does develop.”
Preparation is a key for Mark, while spreading his time around to different causes. Whether it’s being prepared to monitor weather conditions at the drop of a hat, or accurate scorekeeping and other entertainment at the ballpark, Mark knows he plays an important role. Although he doesn’t ask for anything in return, he’s happy to serve his community and the Clintonville baseball team the best way that he can.
“They consider me a crucial part of them, and the coach’s, they like me a lot, and they want me to continue for as long as I can go,” Kirchner said joyfully. “The main thing is what really keeps me coming back is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He keeps me coming and doing what I love to do best. That’s serving and giving back to the community. I do it for him, not my own and I love everybody here, the way they are. This is what it’s all about.”
After being born in, and spending his life in the Clintonville area, Mark lives to serve the community that’s treated him so well through the years. He’s also learned a lot along the way, like what it takes to be a team player, a phrase that epitomizes his work.
“Back to basketball days, we were to state two times; two runner-ups and then back in ’89 we won the state title and I was a part of that,” Kirchner recalled. “Then I came on and we won the state title in legion ball back in 2010 and it’s all great accomplishments for me. It’s a big part of my life. Sports are a part of my life.”
We congratulate Mark Kirchner for his work and involvement in the Clintonville community, this week’s Community Helper.