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Providing a safe summer activity for young girls for 20 years

By Kat Halfman
Staff Intern

GREEN BAY – Dave Crevcoure first joined the Optimist Club of Green Bay more than 20 years ago with the goal of helping children.

When there was an opening in girls’ softball, Crevcoure said he jumped on the opportunity to give young girls in the Greater Green Bay area a fun, healthy and safe activity for the summertime.

“I started playing softball when I was 15 years old, in the men’s softball league in Kewaunee, and I’ve always loved the game,” he said. “I felt there was a need to bring girls out to play.”

Crevcoure said when the Optimist Club of Green Bay Girls’ Softball Program started, it had about 60 girls.

“Now, we’re up to about 260,” he said. “It’s incredible to watch these girls learn and grow. They start out in kindergarten and 4K when they’ve never played before. By the time the girls get up to fourth, fifth or sixth grade, a lot of them are ahead.”

Dave Crevcoure said the Optimist Club of Green Bay Girls’ Softball Program started with about 60 girls and has now grown to around 260 players.

Crevcoure emphasized that as much as he loves to see the girls grow more and more skilled, with some even earning college scholarships, to him it’s secondary to providing an opportunity for them to have a fun, team-building summer activity.

Prior to kicking off games June 30, he threw the first ceremonial pitch, while surrounded by hundreds of young girls he helped introduce to softball.

As he tossed the pitch, the girls shouted, “Thank you!” and cheered as loud as they could.

Serving others
Crevcoure said the opportunity to help guide the next generations of softball players the Optimist Club afforded has meant a lot over the years – stepping in as needed.

He recruited teams, coaches, umpires and, when there was no one to recruit, he himself coached, taught softball skills – including how to pitch, catch, hit the ball and run the bases – and umped games, as well as worked the concession stand to ensure families who couldn’t afford supplies could still give their girls the opportunity to play.

Crevcoure has also been an advocate for club facilities.

In the early 2000s, club games were played on a single diamond.

Now they span across four fields at the Finger Road complex – much to the credit of Crevcoure’s relentless efforts for support.

Dave Crevcoure, left, said the opportunity to help guide the next generations of softball players has meant a lot to him.

For the past 10 years, he said he’s been lobbying local leaders to build a permanent concession stand with bathrooms in the softball park.

He said he’s worked with the City of Green Bay parks and planning departments and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to obtain a permit, and finally his endless hours of work have come to fruition.

The plans for the permanent building, which he said is privately funded, are ready, and construction can begin once Green Bay submits the required bids.

Crevcoure said the process hasn’t been an easy one.

“It’s been tough, for sure,” he said. “Nothing is paid for by the city, it’s all been funded by the Optimist Club.”

A curveball diagnosis
Life took an unfortunate turn in January 2021, when Crevcoure and his wife Christine were in Arizona taking care of her elderly parents.

An unexpected trip to the hospital, followed by an MRI, revealed he had a stroke, and a pea-sized mass was found in his brain.

A mapping MRI with a neurosurgeon, a brain biopsy and a craniotomy in the days and weeks that followed led to even more upsetting news.

Dave has Glioblastoma, also referred to as a grade IV astrocytoma, which is a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor that invades nearby brain tissue.

Christine said the tumor is on both sides of Dave’s brain.

“The tumors work themselves into the brain and are inoperable and incurable,” she said. “Right now, he’s doing okay, but he probably only has six months. Dave is loved by everybody. It’s been hard.”

As Christine shared the painful story of her husband’s diagnosis during an interview at the June 30 games, dozens of people of all ages came up to chat, hug him and thank him for his decades of work.

Dave was all smiles, saying he was thrilled to see many of the young girls he guided over the years.

Through all the ups and downs of the last year and a half, Christine said Dave has remained his strong, kind self – always looking out for those around him as he did for countless years with the Optimist Club of Green Bay Girls’ Softball Program.

When asked if there was anything else Christine wanted people to know about Dave, she teared up and replied, “He’s my best friend – we’re not giving up.”

“I can’t even think about him going,” she said. “We’ve been happily married for 28 years. and we’ve always had so much trust and love for each other.”

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