Judges battle for the pitcher's mound

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Region 8 county judges are in the battle of their life.

They're on the baseball field practicing for the opportunity to throw the first pitch at an upcoming Memphis Redbirds game.

And the judge chosen will be determined by the community.

The county that has bought the most Redbird tickets will see their judge on the pitchers mound.

Cross County Judge Donnie Sanders said he was thrilled to participate in the competition.

"It gave some of the Northeast Arkansas County Judges an opportunity," Sanders said. "To participate in some friendly competition. And at the same time, it will help raise funds for CRDC and for some of the programs they provide."

Part of the money raised from the ticket sales will go to the Crowley's Ridge Development Council.

Sanders said he's already seen what a difference the CRDC can make in his own county.

"In Cross County, they've helped some of our citizens there," Sanders said. "When they would find themselves in a position where they had difficulty with a utility bill for whatever reason. Sometimes an individual might lose their job. Something will go out of business and they'll lose their job. Have a little difficulty the next month with those utilities. And I've seen the CRDC help us in our county with that. The NEAT transportation comes as far south as Cross County. So, individuals there who need some transportation. There are just several things we've seen in our own county that help."

Craighead County Judge Ed Hill was equally excited.

"It's a great service to eight counties," Hill said. "A lot of people will get a lot of benefit out of this. And all this money is going to go to benefiting that. It's just a great thing. They're doing great work and working hard and they're expanding. They've got great stuff going on and any support they get really helps."

Greene County Judge Rusty McMillon said the CRDC helps communities in a lot of different ways.

"That community action agency," McMillon said. "It was established decades ago. It's so important and vital to not only Craighead County, but our eight-county district. That money goes back in to helping individuals and whatever is going on in their lives, utilities, food and any kind of support we can give them."

The CRDC assists with weatherization, substance abuse treatment, senior citizen services, regional prevention program, Northeast Arkansas Transport service and USDA child & adult care food program.

McMillon said representatives of the CRDC have really been working hard to make a difference.

"We've been very aggressive the last 18 months or so," McMillon said. "We're trying to get housing communities renovated and looking a lot better than what they were and actually livable. We've been helping individuals moving into those areas. And then we have a support network that helps them after they move into there, as well. We also go to individuals who own their own homes and help them with energy assistance. If their home needs insulation and just an overhaul, very simply, we have a group that can go in there and winterize that. Just to improve the overall capacity for it to be heated and cooled. We have money for low income individuals. We have drug rehabilitation program and that's running very well. So, it's just about helping individuals in their lives, where ever they are."

"Multiple counties," Hill said. "And multiple things that they do. Housing and energy assistance and just everything. They do a lot of programs a lot of people are not aware of. Just like this deal here, raising money to do different things. They're doing a great job out there."

"The blessing will be once we have the opportunity to see these funds put back into the communities," Sanders said. "To lend a helping hand to those who find themselves in a position of needing some assistance."

The Memphis Redbirds game is on Friday, July 14th.

This is the second year for this competition.

The CRDC will receive four dollars from every ticket sold.

Go online or call your county judges office to learn how you can help.

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