The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

September 8, 2008

Haskins’ memory lives on in Enid

(Continued)



“During my introductory speech at the court dedication, I thanked Haskins for that moment and said what a joy it was to share those memories with my Enid family,” Fitzger-ald said. “That afternoon, I went home and flopped in bed. I wasn’t exhausted. I was beyond being spent. I was numb and nearly in a state of disbelief.”

A year before the dedication, Fitzgerald said he wanted to honor Haskins in Enid.

“Something inside of me snapped and said, ‘You’ve got to do this,’” Fitzgerald said. “I just started putting some notes together and calling people.”

Fitzgerald worked with members of the city’s Park Board to get the courts renamed and raise money for renovations. Along with Ron Janzen and Jerry Allen, who helped to raise funds for the renovations, the men accomplished their goal.

“We were able to get this thing up and rolling, right off the bat almost,” Fitzgerald said.

Janzen, who was working as a city parks consultant at the time, said he remembers Fitzgerald’s enthusiasm to get the courts named in Haskins’ honor.

“It seemed like such a good fit and it was something the city was doing to make improvements,” Janzen said. “I felt like it was something Don Haskins certainly deserved.”

Park Board chairman Jerry Allen said once Fitzgerald’s idea got out, people were willing to contribute to the cause.

“Scott had the idea and I had the wherewithal and the way to get my foot in the door to raise funds,” Allen said. “Once we explained what the project was, people just opened their pocketbooks and gave us the money.”

Open to the public and players of all skill levels, Allen said the park sees segments of the entire community using the courts.

“It crosses all walks of life, all age groups,” he said. “I think the sport itself just crosses a lot of racial barriers.”

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