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I’ve spent the past two weeks looking at some pretty dismal health statistics for La Paz County. We are second worst in AZ for premature deaths (under the age of 75). We are the worst county when it comes to being physically inactive and excessively drinking. You are more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash in this county than most other counties in Arizona. Almost half of all families in La Paz are single parent families. We are the second worse for teen pregnancies (age 15-19). Almost 1 in 3 adults lack insurance and are obese. A few months ago I was presenting these statistics to a Rotary Club when someone chimed in with, “So you are saying that we are the oldest, laziest and drunkest count in AZ?” Well, we are also the poorest.

How depressing. How dismal and bleak. Why do we live here if it’s so bad? If these numbers are representative of who we are then what is our future going to be like? Statistically speaking, I am a single, obese mother who doesn’t get enough exercise. I will probably die of coronary artery disease before the age of 75 and I will likely die without insurance. OH MY GOSH! Why am I even trying to diet and exercise if this is my future here?

Because, it isn’t our future here.

Inspiration is in short supply. It’s rare. And, if you look at our statistics, we are not really being inspired to make healthy choices. No, I’m not going to get into work related stuff and talk about some of our fantastic programs like Healthy LA PAZ here on my blog. Instead, I’m going to talk about how a few people in our community were inspired to make a change and provide new opportunities in Parker, AZ.

As the poorest and second smallest county in AZ we often feel like we are left out of big, exciting things that happen across our state. March 25th, that all changed. That Monday I attended a dedication ceremony for a new baseball field in Parker, AZ. Not just any field but a brand new, professional, Little League approved, bare feet compatible, green, luscious Diamondback sponsored ball field.

Introducing the Aaron Hill field. Paid for by the Arizona Diamondbacks, APS and Aaron Hill himself.

Aaron Hill speaking to the Town of Parker.

Aaron Hill speaking to the Town of Parker.

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New Aaron Hill field

New Aaron Hill field.

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It's the greenest thing in Parker.

It’s the greenest thing in Parker.

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But what you don’t know is what it took to get this field. We all know grants and programs are hard to come by. The Arizona Diamondbacks have a give back program in partnership with APS, but it took the hard work and dedication of these people below to make it happen.

Town of Parker Council

Town of Parker Council.

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Over a year ago the Town of Parker council started working with the Diamondback foundation to get a new field for our youth. It didn’t look like it was going to happen when one of the players (Upton) passed up our town for a location in the city. As I was taking pictures of the event, I heard a comment about this lady here.

Town Council Member Marion Shontz.

Town Council Member Marion Shontz.

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She was thanked for her hard work and dedication to bringing in a ball field. Tenacity. Marion Shontz is a Town of Parker council member who fought for this field. Born and raised in Parker, AZ, a graduate of Parker High, she contributes to the improvement of our town. Marion Shontz is inspiring. She believes in giving back to the community and inspiring others to do the same. If you need an ounce of inspiration, look no further than your own community. It’s here and it’s growing faster than our health stats.

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PS: In full disclosure, Marion is my boss but has no idea I wrote this.

PPS: The ball field really is awesome.

Honestly, the best feeling grass in Parker.

Honestly, the best feeling grass in Parker.

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