By Mike McClure

Laurel’s Mike Snead was honored on Tuesday, Aug. 23 during the Little League Baseball World Series as a member of the first class of Community Heroes of the Year. The event was held in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the World Series. 

Since 2020, the Community Heroes program has honored volunteers and players who serve as role models in their communities. Starting this year, those who were nominated for the program throughout the year are eligible to be recognized as Community Heroes of the Year.

Laurel’s Mike Snead receives the Little League Community Hero of the Year award during the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

“It feels absolutely awesome,” said Snead, who received an email about it and thought it was spam.

Snead was recognized as a community hero in February, but he had no idea he was in line to be one of the heroes of the year. He called attending the Little League World Series “an eye opening experience.”

“It was good to see some quality baseball. It was just a good all-around experience,” said Snead, who enjoyed the stadium and the hospitality of the hosts.

“The backbone of the Little League program is the volunteers and players who go above and beyond to make the local league experience meaningful for all those around them, and our Community Heroes program has brought the spotlight to those incredible individuals who enhance that experience both on and off the field,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “We are honored to welcome our first ever class of Community Heroes of the Year to Williamsport this summer and thank each of these six individuals for their commitment and support of the Little League program, and more importantly, their community.”

Snead and the other honorees were each presented with a $1,000 grant to their local league as a thank you for their efforts.

Snead serves as the Laurel Little League President as well as a behavioral paraprofessional at Laurel Elementary School. He was recognized for helping to launch a girls’ pitching machine league as well as finding new ways to bring the community together. 

Snead also launched a mentoring program in the community known as “DO YOU,” Delivering Our Youth Out of Uncertainty, to support and lead the youth within the community.

“We (Laurel Little League) go out in the community and we try to get children just to come out and play,” Snead said.

The league gets outside donors to help pay for those who can’t afford to play and also pays for equipment such as shoes, gloves, and bats for those players.

Recently, Snead and the board changed up how it does opening day. In addition to the normal parade and ceremony, they added a chicken BBQ, home run derby, first around the bases for t-ball players, and a pitch, hit and run competition. There are also vendors set up at the ball park.

At the school, the DO YOU program sets out to show local kids that there is more to life than what they see in their day to day lives. The kids go on college tours and visit museums and amusement parks.

The group meets once a week at the high school. The kids learn skills that will help them while they are in school and beyond such as time management, money management, goal setting, and responsibility.

Snead said a mechanic will be visiting the group show how them how to change oil and change tires. Juniors will get help preparing for SATs and filling out college applications.

The goal of the mentoring program is to provide at-risk students with an opportunity to be successful after high school.

During the World Series ceremony, Snead’s wife went live on Facebook. As a result, he received a lot of phone calls, texts, and Facebook posts from community members.

“The community really supports me and my family the way that we set out to rally around them,” said Snead. “I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. Laurel’s been very good to me my whole life. I just want to give back some things that have been given to me. I love the Little League, I love the community, and I just hope I can represent them well.