At the beginning of the summer, I received an opportunity to sponsor Kester’s Krew, one of the more famous, local women’s softball teams here on the Island. My client, Cherrish Beals, contacted me and told me that they needed a sponsor and this year, Kester, the coach, was ill and could not be there for the ladies. So, it was that much more important for the team to continue, just for Kester’s sake.
I’m so happy that I followed my instincts and said, “Yes,” jubilantly.
Here’s an excerpt from Cherrish’s email for the recent Dispatch article:
“I wanted to share a story with you that I think captures the essence of why Grand Island is such a Grand place to live. I moved to the Island from California nine years ago when my husband’s job was relocated to Buffalo. He carefully researched the best location for our family of 6 to live and Grand Island was it! Within a few weeks of moving in, friends were made and we were embraced by the Islanders. Our neighbor and now good friend, Lynn Kelly, invited me to join the local women’s softball team that she had played for since she was sixteen. That’s when I first met Kester Bleich. He immediately reminded me of my father who I lost in 2006. Here’s just a few facts about Kester’s Softball coaching career-
1 – William Kester Bleich (Known as Coach Kester) just turned 84 and has coached Grand Island softball teams for more than half his life! He has a long legacy of being an umpire and a player as well.
2 – His current team has players that have been coached by him since 1987. One player remembers him teaching her how to hit to right field using a wooden bat…that’s how long ago it was!
3 – He’s coached so long that he’s coached the daughters of many of his former and current players.
4 – Through the years several Grand Island businesses have sponsored Kester’s Krew inlcuding The Beach House, Fuccillo Auto Dealerships, Aceti’s, Marco’s Deli and Rocky’s Island Pizza.
5 – When Kester found himself unable to coach the team this year the girls rallied to ensure his Krew continued. Owner of Island Ship Center, Fahim Mojawalla, was honored to sponsor the team and Laura Anderson stepped up as manager/coach
I’m sure there are hundreds of stories players for Kester could share of the difference he’s made in their lives and the great man he is. Kester’s Krew recently gathered for a team photo with the man, the myth, the legend which I’ve attached.
A few of his original angels posed with him in the second picture.
Shannon Zaccaria designed the team shirts and when I shared the teams story with her she smiled and said, I know Kester. My daughter is one of his caregivers at Elderwood!
Needless to say I’m thrilled to have found the Island, but most importantly to be a member of Kester’s Krew, because it’s the people that make it the amazing place it is! Huge thanks to Fahim, our sponsor, who embodies that better than anyone I know!”
As always, I thank you for the opportunity to be of service to Grand Island and the Western New York community at large.
With gratitude, effervescence and mirth,