'Scott McLean, your commitment to TMBI and TMHI will continue to grow within all the players you helped developed. We thank you.'
Those are the words inscribed on a plaque at the Kiwanis Ball Diamond, near the Tillsonburg Community Centre, next to a memorial tree recently planted by Tillsonburg Minor Hockey and Tillsonburg Minor Baseball. A emotional dedication ceremony was held Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the site of the Eastern Red Bud tree planted in honor of Scott McLean, 51, who passed away from injuries sustained in a snowmobile accident near Minden in January.
The well known Tillsonburg resident dedicated many hours coaching and volunteering to both organizations.
"We have planted this tree in memory of Scott McLean," said Trevor Lamb, representing TMBI. "We remember his infectious smile and the countless hours he put into this community and the local youth programs. He was many things to many people - a coach, a leader, a board member, and a friend.
"On occasion, some umpires and referees may have thought he was a pain," Lamb added with a smile.
"I had the great pleasure to work with and learn a great deal from Scott. He was active in so many things, I can't imagine how he found time to sleep! His strength, determination and leadership guided our community to be the very best.
"My hope is that when you walk in this park, please take the time to sit and reflect on all the great things Scott did for baseball, hockey, and our community," said Lamb, needing to pause for a moment. "On behalf of TMBI, we are extremely proud to dedicate this tree in honour and memory of Scott McLean.
"We had good moments," Lamb later added, "and then you start thinking of all the other things that you did - all the good moments. Tears of... not sadness, but joy... were coming out there.
"He wasn't the one in the forefront. He was kind of beside you, or behind you, supporting you, whatever he was doing. In any group he was involved in, he did not like the spotlight. But he always supported... he was a great leader.
"We took on teams together," Lamb smiled. "We were a great team. He didn't want to be the head coach, he wanted to be your assistant coach and helped out. And like I said to Walter (Kleer), you could plant a tree all over town for him because he was involved in so many groups, so many organizations. He did whatever it took to make us great."
Jodi Edwards, president of TMHI, started with an Ernest Hemingway quote that summed up her thoughts and feelings about McLean - 'every man's life ends the same way, it is only the details of how they lived that distinguish one man from another.'
"To me, the symbolism of this tree that we are dedicating today demonstrates the details of how he lived. The roots will spread, the same way that Scott laid his roots in Tillsonburg and became an integral member of the community. The trunk is a solid foundation, the strength and foundation that he created within his life. The branches were the many roles that Scott embraced as husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend and coach."
And the leaves, she said, represent the numerous people that benefited from his efforts.
"On behalf of Tillsonburg Minor Hockey, we are very proud to dedicate this tree in memory of Scott McLean," Edwards concluded.
"Our family is extremely honoured," said Jane Anne McLean, "that they would honour him in this way. It was very nice that they (minor hockey and baseball) combined together because obviously it was a big part of our lives, the boys' lives, and Scott's life. I'm glad that they got together. They're a good group of people, both sides."