Springhill's Mr. Baseball and his wife were honoured recently when one of the Fencebusters' fields was renamed the Jewell and James 'Pokie' Melanson Field.
SPRINGHILL – A couple who has touched the lives of so many young Springhill boys an girls was honoured recently by his community.
Jim ‘Pokie’ Melanson and his wife, Jewell, were honoured during the Kraft Celebration Tour TSN SportsCentre broadcast by having one of the fields in the Lions Park renamed in their honour.
“It came as quite a surprise and it’s really an honour. I wouldn’t let them do it unless they honoured Jewell as well because I couldn’t have done what I did without her support,” Melanson said after his peewee baseball team captured the Nova Scotia championship on Sunday. “She’s been with me every step of the way.”
Melanson, 78, who worked at the Springhill Institution for many years, has spent the last 37 years running minor baseball in the community starting with his youngest son, Kevin, and continuing to the present with Kevin’s son and his grandson, Jacob.
He was also active in the fire department and the former Springhill minor hockey association.
“It’s all about giving something back to the community,” Melanson said. “I’ve enjoyed being around the kids. When I was a kid I used to chase balls for the Fencebusters, and when I came back and started to work at the prison I got involved in baseball again. It’s been a wonderful 37 years.”
Melanson said he plans to continue coaching, but is thinking of stepping aside as president of the minor baseball association.
Melanson said it was extra special to win on the field that was renamed in his and his wife Jewel’s name.
“I didn’t know the sign there until I came here on Friday,” Melanson said. “It means a lot to me. All I have ever wanted to do was to give the kids a place to play baseball. That’s all I wanted to do over the last 37 years and Jewel has been there with me every step of the way.”