(photo by Jill Bock, Staff)
"There is not a win-loss record on either of the nomination forms," said Craig, vice chairman of the Honors Board, about honorees Steve Lomax and Paul Vaught. "It takes a greater love to keep you coming back year after year."
Both men agreed, it was a love and concern for children which put them on the sidelines year after year, decade after decade.
"You don't do this for yourself, you do this just because you love kids," said Lomax following the brief ceremony where they uncovered the brass plaques bearing their names and accomplishments. "I love watching them grow up. Some go on to play high school ball, maybe even college and you hope that you were a part of getting them started out right, that you taught them a few good things."
Lomax is the first honoree to be named to the Honors Board, located in the Sikeston Sports Complex, solely for his involvement in the Little League Football Program. He has been involved with the program since 1983, serving as head coach for the Noranda Rams -Blue Team. From 1983 to 1993 Lomax ran the local Punt, Pass and Kick Competition as well.
"He's wonderful with all the kids and respected by all of the parents," wrote Deke Lape in his nomination letter. "He has been a vital part of the existence of the program."
But when talking about the Little League Program, Lomax would rather offer his thanks to the young players, other coaches and the Jaycees, which support the program.
Vaught, who coached and managed a Sikeston Little League team for 18 years as well as pitching in when needed to help with Junior Babe Ruth and Babe Ruth teams, was also recognized for his efforts with Boy Scouts. He helped organize Cub Scout Troop 140, serving as its first treasurer, then spent 10 years with Troop 43 of the Boy Scouts.
The father of five sons, it was his son, Neal, who nominated Vaught to have his named added to the Honors Board. "My dad is a great guy ... when he wasn't working, he was coaching baseball and working the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. He loves sports.
"You can ask anyone who coached or played baseball between 1958 through 1975 and they will tell you he was a good teacher of baseball and gave baseball his all," wrote the younger Vaught in his nomination letter.
At Wednesday morning's ceremony he added simply: "He's the best dad you can have."
Those years of involvement are filled with many special moments said Vaught, who hesitated on picking just one.
For today's coaches and those thinking about becoming one, the two experienced coaches agreed there is one secret ingredient.
"Patience, patience, patience," said Lomax.
Added Vaught with a smile: "There is a lot involved in it but you do have to have patience."