Ashley Himes continues to impact the community in a memorial softball tournament 4 1/2 years after her death.
“It’s a good way to just kind of see people you don’t always see,” said Heidi Scott, a classmate and tournament organizer. “It’s kind of nice just for our class, too, because the timing that she died, we had graduation and then the funeral and everybody just kind of went their separate ways. So being able to bring our classmates back together is something I look forward to.”
Himes, a former North Cedar student and all-conference softball player for the Knights, died of a brain tumor at age 17 one month before her high school graduation in 2009. Her family and friends have held this softball tournament in her honor since then, and the fifth event started Saturday and continues Sunday.
Her mother, Deb Himes of Mechanicsville, said it gives here a chance once a year to see Ashley’s friends and former teammates.
“It’s really nice to get to see all the kids she went to school with or played ball with,” Himes said. “I know that Ashley is watching down on everybody playing in the tournament, and I know she is just absolutely honored to know we are doing this in honor of her.”
Proceeds from the tournament go to a graduating North Cedar senior in scholarship in Ashley’s name.
The continued support brings joy to the Himes family.
“It is heartwarming to know they’re there to play for a reason, to help out Ashley’s scholarship,” Himes said. “She was very interested in her schooling. It’s just a joy to know this money is going to be put toward good use.”
Tournament registrations continue to grow. In 2009, the tournament had five registered teams. That number ballooned to 15 this year with three on a waiting list in case a team cancels.
Scott doesn’t see the event ending any time soon.
“I think we’ll continue it as long as we’re getting teams signed up and people are participating,” Scott said. “As long as people are still willing to keep playing and people are willing to come back for that weekend, we’ll keep going with it.”