WHEELING - Donald and Linda VanCamp stood by quietly Tuesday night as they watched Boy Scouts from Troop 6 in Wheeling erect a new flag pole at the Patterson Ballfields.
The flag pole and accompanying U.S. and state flags will be formally dedicated, along with the Palomino ballfield, in honor and memory of their son, U.S. Army Capt. David VanCamp, who died June 29, 2011, while serving in Badrah, Iraq.
The naming ceremony will take place Friday evening following the 6 p.m. game of the Edgar Martin Beast of the East Tournament being played at the field near the Elm Grove Civics building.
Photo by Heather Ziegler
Members of Boy Scout Troop 6 from Vance Church in Wheeling erect a flagpole that will be dedicated to the late Army Capt. David VanCamp, who played baseball at the Patterson Ballfields.
A fireworks display will follow, and the public is encouraged to turn out for all of the events happening Friday.
David VanCamp had been stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and was commander of Company H, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
His widow, Chelsea, remains in Texas, while his parents live in Wheeling where they raised David and his three brothers.
According to his father, David played baseball on those Patterson fields from the time he was old enough to hold a bat and throughout his high school years.
Since David's death, family and friends have formed a foundation that includes a scholarship to be awarded to a WPHS senior baseball player.
While watching the flag pole raising, Donald couldn't help but cast a look toward the fields where several local baseball teams were playing games. As balls and bats collided, Donald said, "That sound sure brings back a lot of memories. David was always playing."
David's mother shed tears as she watched the Scouts and their leaders in action. The timing of the dedication coincides with the one-year anniversary of his death.
"You know they will be naming the field on the very same date that David died last year. He died doing what he wanted to do," Linda said.
Carolyn Davis, a family friend and foundation member, said city officials have been very helpful in making the dedication a reality.
"I had no idea how I was going to get this pole up, but Rusty Jebbia said I should contact the Boy Scouts. Troop 6 was great and here they are putting up the pole.
They are helping us and they're are earning badges, so it's a win-win situation."
Davis said the city also has been generous in assisting with the details for Friday's dedication ceremony. A large crowd is expected, and the family will utilize an Ohio County school bus to transport family and friends to the field for the ceremony.
Wheeling City Council, on June 5, unanimously voted to rename the field in tribute to VanCamp. Mayor Andy McKenzie is expected to be on hand for the ceremony.