Former coach to be honored with Mike Farrell Day
By Courtney Llewellyn
Reminder Assistant Editor
WILBRAHAM - If the Board of Selectmen approved a resolution at their June 1 meeting, June 7 will forever be known as Mike Farrell Day in the town of Wilbraham.
Farrell, a youth baseball coach, founder of an American Legion baseball team, a college professor, a businessman, a husband, a father and a friend, passed away last August at the age of 52. Those who knew him have gathered together as members of Friends of Mike Farrell, hosting the first ever Hike for Mike on June 7.
The Friends and Sen. Gale Candaras worked together to turn this day into a memorial for the much-loved man.
Gail Olmsted, a professor at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and a member of Friends of Mike Farrell, said she knew Mike well as a colleague and a friend.
"The idea to get the proclamation came from a student in my Event Management class," Olmsted said. "As part of a midterm exam, I asked students to come up with ways to make the 'Hike for Mike' a really special event. The whole thing came together from that assignment.
"Interestingly enough, the Sports and Entertainment program at STCC was developed to a large extent due to the efforts of Mike Farrell," she added.
"I knew Mike and I know his wife, Janet," Candaras told Reminder Publications. "My son went through Minnechaug [and that's how I got to know Mike]. He was a fine gentleman and a fine human being. He was much beloved, and deservedly so."
Candaras said she introduced the resolution to establish Mike Farrell Day because as someone who represented Wilbraham as a selectman, a state representative and now a state senator, she has a "pretty good sense of what they want to do and how to get them there."
She's also working on a resolution in the Senate that would memorialize all the good works Farrell did during his lifetime.
"This is an appropriate way to honor him," Candaras said.
The senator said she would try to be present at the Hike for Mike to present the resolution.
The Hike for Mike will include a three-mile walk around the Post Office Park area, followed by a picnic at the Spec Pond Pavilion. Registration for the walk will begin at 9 a.m., with the picnic taking place from noon to 4 p.m.
There is no minimum amount of money need to participate, but the first 250 walkers with $25 or more in pledges will receive free T-shirts.
Anyone wishing to participate in the Hike for Mike is encouraged to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a pledge form or make a donation. For more information on the Friends of Mike Farrell, visit www.friendsofmikefarrell.com