STEUBENVILLE - John Retton devoted his life to the youth of the Ohio Valley.
Retton's family now continues working for the area's youth in his name with the John Retton Foundation.
"My children worked all summer to put this together and make this happen," said John Retton's wife Patricia Retton. "They had a huge golf outing in May and raised money. They want the money to go to the local schools, and, especially, the local schools that John was a part of as a coach.
DONATION — Patricia Retton is flanked by Steubenville Post 33 players Cole Yeater and Chris Murphy. The John Retton Foundation, which was founded in honor of Patricia Retton’s late husband, donated money to the Post 33 baseball team for new equipment bags.
-- Fred Younce
"We want to give back. For my children I think it was their way of having their closure, my own children's way of dealing with their grief. They worked like dogs to make this happen. I think they are hoping to give to all the local teams that John was a part of. They want to give back."
One of the first donations made by the foundation went to the Steubenville Post 33 baseball team, which John Retton was a former head coach.
"Of course John was with Post 33, as the head coach, and my children wanted to give money to them," said Patricia Retton. "This is one of the first donations made because the high school year was over when the money was raised. We asked Mark (Stacy) what his needs were, and they already had their shirts, hats, and baseball for the year so he got these equipment bags for the players.
"He said what he really hoped to do was raise money to get the boys these backpacks to carry their equipment. I said that's fine, you order them, and we'll take care of them."
With the donation, each member of the Steubenville Post 33 baseball team received a new DeMarini equipment bag with their number.
Stacy, another former Post 33 head coach who remains a part of the program, sees the foundation's work as a continuation of what Retton did during his life.
"I just want to everyone to know John Retton put his life into athletics, and he changed a lot of lives in the Ohio Valley," he said. "He is still doing so today. We miss him. He put so much time into this place over the years, and it was all volunteer work. There's not too many people that would do that. That's his legacy as far as I'm concerned.
"He loved kids and was a guy who would do anything and step in where he was needed."
Added Patricia Retton, "John just loved the camaraderie of being here just like any other coach. They all love it."
Though the donation to Post 33 is the beginning, if the Retton's have any say it will be far the end.
"I think they're going to plan on hitting Brooke High School, and probably Brooke baseball, Indian Creek High School, Madonna High School, Big Red baseball and Post 33. Those are just some of the schools in the beginning. We could go to other schools as well.
"They'll probably help out the Follansbee Youth Basketball Program that John started. They're going to do something for whatever their need is whether that is shirts or basketballs or whatever they want. I think from each of Brooke, Madonna and Indian Creek, at the end of the school year, they're going to give out a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating athlete. The athlete doesn't necessarily have to be baseball. I'm not sure what the criteria is going to be.
"Whether it is going to be need-based or for an athlete. Maybe it will be a golfer or a basketball player. We're asking people to help direct us now on finding a student that is worthy of it.
"They want to do a scholarship and plus they want to give to the needs of the programs in the area. Let's just hope they continue raising enough money to keep it going."