News

Brookline ballfield now Curt Jensen Memorial Field

Friday, May 16, 2014

By LORETTA JACKSON

Staff Writer

BROOKLINE – The dedication of the Curt Jensen Memorial Field in Brookline was held at Brookline Town Field on May 10, with participation from scores of young baseball players and their coaches, local dignitaries, fire personnel and dozens of the friends and family of the field’s namesake, the late Curt Jensen.

Jensen was an assistant fire chief in Brookline. He had a tenure there of some 27 years and previously, from 1984-89, was a member of the Milford Volunteer Fire Department and lieutenant of Engine 4. He also was a deputy fire warden for New Hampshire. A concurrent commitment of more than 20 years at Wetherbee Plumbing and Heating in Milford provides further proof of his business acumen.

Jensen, an avid sports fan and ice fisherman, died suddenly at the family’s home on Nov. 20. He was 51 years old. He was praised by those at the naming of the ballfield as a man whose successes in enriching the community he loved were myriad. He and his wife, Jody, were credited by many at the dedication. The couple was especially praised for helping to coach the town’s athletes and for building the ballpark’s dugouts. They led many volunteer projects.

Jo Ann Skey, a softball coach at Hollis Brookline Middle School, is a longtime coordinator of youth softball in Brookline. She and her husband, Dennis Skey, were on hand for the dedication. Dennis said the Jensens have been a part of the town forever. He credited Curt Jensen for rallying the money to improve the ballfield and for much of the physical labor that has enabled the kids to have a top-notch place to play.

An abundance of players from the majors and minors of the Hollis Brookline Cal Ripken League were present. The kids represented many teams, including the Bears, the Hawks, Night Train, the Braves, the Bullets, Red Sox and others.

Curt Jensen’s widow, Jody Jensen, a son, Macyn, an accomplished ballplayer, and the Jensens’ daughter, Cheyann, watched as a parade of athletes marched down Milford Street and into Town Park in advance of the commemoration. Many of the Jensens’ relatives and friends attended the event.

The fire truck in which Curt rode so many times was the first to enter the park. Other fire vehicles followed. Then, a lively contingent of young ballplayers clad in bright colors designating various teams filed en mass into the grassy corridor that led to the ballfield.

Jody, married 13 years to Curt, was embraced by her kids as she watched the goings-on with pride, and remnants of the perpetual hurt felt when a loved one is suddenly absented from the home, the workplace and the lives of friends and family. She said the months since her husband’s passing have been difficult.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Jody said. “I’m still grieving. I think of him every day. He loved this community. This event, today, is a testament to his life. When you’re a part of something like this, you’re a part of the community forever.”

Jo Ann Skey said the dugouts built by Curt and Jody Jensen and other volunteers were dynamic improvements to the field. A scoreboard, an announcer’s booth and upgraded seating for spectators and players are amenities now in place.

“It’s grown and it’s beautiful,” Jo Ann said. “Before the dugouts were here, there were metal benches. Curt was the blood and sweat of getting these dugouts here.”

Gary Jensen, Curt’s older brother and one of six siblings, said the dedication event was overwhelming. He said Curt was just a kid when he started playing ball at the park.

“This was a great event – overwhelming,” Gary said. “My brother went from someone who used to come here at 10 years old and tear up the field, to one who used to take care of the field. We grew up here. We all played here. Dad used to play, too.”

Charlie Corey, Brookline’s fire chief, accompanied nearly two dozen firefighters and emergency rescue personnel in the parade that launched the dedication of the ballfield. Members of the department, established in 1826, witnessed the ceremony. They stood tall, shoulder to shoulder, around the perimeter of the infield.

The comments broadcast to the crowd were led by Jody Jensen. She thanked everyone for recognizing her husband’s contributions to the town and ballpark. Others who expressed gratitude included Marc Moscatelli, minors coordinator for the Hollis-Brookline Cal Ripken organization, Rep. Jack Flanagan, Darell Philpot, chairman of the board of selectmen, and Tad Putney, Brookline town administrator. When she acknowledged the attendees from the fire department she looked across the field and said, “You rock!”

Corey, who has been fire chief for some 17 years, said Curt was a fine man whose help was offered instantly whenever a need arose.

“Curt was a good guy who would do anything for anybody,” Corey said. “A lot of the stuff that happens at the ballfield is done by volunteers. Throughout the years – softball teams, baseball teams – the guys volunteer when something is needed.”

Corey said that the town’s athletes, those of today and those of years ago, were glad to help when jobs needed doing. He recalled that when he played, the jobs were more basic than building a dugout or erecting an announcer’s booth. Early on, one ballfield sufficed. Now, there are two.

“When we played Little League here, we had to end the day by taking away two baseball mitts full of rocks and throwing them into the woods,” Corey mused. “Back then, nobody had a screener, so that’s how you got rid of the rocks.”

Marc Moscatelli mentioned in his words of dedication that everyone present could be thought of as standing on the shoulders of those who have volunteered.

“They share themselves and they share their love for the community,” Moscatelli said. “Be the next Curt.”

For more information on the Curt Jensen Memorial Field, contact Jo Ann Skey at 396-7795.

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