On June 11, the family of Jimmy “Jimmy’s Shoes” Kallenberg, the port’s longtime director of youth activities, gathered at the PYA’s home at Lions Field to honor him with a brief memorial ceremony commemorating his years. of service as a member of the Board of Directors and dedicate a bench in his name.
Jimmy was a well-known business owner in Port Washington who passed away in June 2021 after battling a fierce battle with cancer. He was inducted into the Port Youth Activities Hall of Fame in 2006.
At that time, he summed up his commitment to the organization as follows: “I was too old for PYA when it started, but my friends and I were playing football at Lion’s Field. The field at the time was basically wasteland – weeds, rocks, bare areas. We’d be in the middle of a game and then the little kids would show up and we’d get kicked out.
In the late 1980s, then-president Jim Cosolito contacted Kallenberg and requested his participation on the board, and he offered his services. “I was immediately impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of this group. That’s when I decided I wanted to help turn the weed-and-rock-strewn Lions Field into the best sports field on Long Island,” Kallenberg recalled.
This memory inspired him to help lead the largest fundraising effort in the history of harbor youth activities in 2000. His mantra became, “Give me a plan and I’ll raise the money. Through this leadership and a massive overall organizational effort, Jimmy and the PYA Board of Directors have raised nearly $1 million to redevelop the land.
With this achievement and motivation firmly etched not only in the Port Youth Activities archives, but also in the love of his family, on this day in June, Port Youth Activities sponsored a brief moving tribute at Lions Field before the baseball game. of the day.
Jimmy’s daughter, Elizabeth, threw out the first pitch that day. She continues to honor her father by running marathons and participating in a 100 mile race out west, raising money for Port Youth Activities.
His two older brothers, Brian and Matthew, have also found countless ways to honor his memory. All three have practiced several sports at Port Youth Activities and have had successful sports careers.
Among those present were many longtime board members and friends of the Kallenberg family. The family wanted a quiet little affair, so as not to distract the children who were playing that day. That kindness and humility that Jimmy, his widow Sharon (another Port Washington native) and his children have always shown continues.
Jimmy’s spirit and the event of that day can be summed up in another of his reminiscences: “One of the greatest pleasures I have had has been training my children on this beautiful state-of-the-art course – the same torn piece of land that we used to play.
Port Youth Activities, established in 1963, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote fair play and character development in children through participation in its athletic programs. You can find out more at www.pyasports.org.