AUGUSTA — Garry Markoff will put a lot miles on his car this week, traveling from his home in Wells to the State American Legion baseball tournament in Augusta. A couple of weeks ago, during the State Babe Ruth tournament for 13-year-olds, he made the 100-mile trip five days in a row.

Markoff is a fixture on the crew of volunteers who put on baseball tournaments at the fields along the Piggery Road and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He began as a coach and board member in the Augusta Babe Ruth League in the late 1980’s and has been here ever since, even after moving from the area almost five years ago.

“Most of the people on the board have been doing this a long time,” Markoff said. “It’s kind of like my social club.”

Markoff is among a half dozen or so who are regular contributors to work around Morton and McGuire Fields. There are many more who contribute, too. In fact, this week, tournament director Al Cloutier has over 40 volunteers at his disposal. The core group includes Markoff, Steve Brooks, Cloutier and Joe Linscott among others and has logged thousands of hours making the fields some of the best in the state.

“I think Garry likes the idea of seeing this complex grow,” Linscott said. “He’s really into landscaping and his wife (Pauline) came over many times and tended to the shrubs. Garry was really involved in tree planting and just overall maintenance. He’s just invaluable.”

Markoff and the rest of the crew are also involved in a major improvement project on the nearby CARA Memorial fields where drainage is being installed the fields redone for youth soccer, lacrosse and perhaps rugby. New parking has also been added and the adjacent soccer fields are now connected by road to the baseball fields. Scoreboards, a flagpole, seating and other infrastructure is also being installed.

Markoff has been an integral part of all the improvements in the complex, which comes under the Capital Recreation Association (CARA) umbrella. In addition to state legion and Babe Ruth tournaments, the group hosts middle school, high school and Babe Ruth league regular season games, and of late the Eastern Maine and State Class A high school championships. When there’s not a tournament going on, Markoff is usually at the complex at least once a week.

“When he moved to Wells I thought he was going to be cutting back but he’s (here) more than ever,” Cloutier said. “He comes here and does things on his own. He doesn’t need any direction.”

Markoff has donated more than his time to the CARA complex. Linscott said he’s donated a lot out of pocket and as the owner of a small printing company, Markoff has printed the programs for the state legion and Babe Ruth tournament free of charge. He’s also printed all the programs for the organization’s annual golf tournament for the past 25 years.

“Over the years, that adds up to a lot of money,” Linscott said.

His time has proven even more valuable.

“It’s unbelievable that a guy would live in Wells and come up to Augusta repeatedly as he does,” Linscott said.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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