Saturday, April 28, will be a special day at the Burgin High School baseball field.
Mark Darland, 49, who was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in August of 2017 will be honored for his years of service in Burgin, Harrodsburg and all throughout Mercer County for coaching and inspiring youth.
Starting at noon on Saturday, plate lunches will be sold and proceeds will go to the Darland family.
At 12:40 p.m., the ceremonial presentation for the Mark Darland Making a Difference Award will begin. All family, friends and former players are encouraged to attend.
Donnie Edwards, head coach of the Burgin High School baseball team, is organizing the event and has coached with Darland and has been a close friend for many years.
“He just has a heart of gold. He is always looking to mentor the youth and always there if you need something,” said Edwards. “His love for his family is unmeasurable. He just loves being involved with young people. Let’s show him how much he means to the area and how much we love him by being at the field for this special recognition that is overdue for all his efforts over the years. Let’s fill the park for Mark.”
Darland is a family man, and always has been, according to Edwards.
Mark has been married to his wife, Tracy, for the last 30 years. Jordan, Tyler, Hailey, Noah and Madison are their five children. They have been blessed with two daugthers-in-law, Kelli and Reba, and have enjoyed spending every moment with Brayden, Kohen, Saylor, Layne and Eli, their five grandchildren. Mark and Tracy will soon be grandparents to another child that’s due in November.
Darland has spent 23 years of his life coaching youth in the area and has also volunteered numerous hours coaching baseball at Sportleigh Field and Anderson Dean Park for Mercer County Little League.
Along with that, he has also served as a volunteer coach in basketball at the YMCA and HBC Hoops.
Mark was also the first middle school baseball coach for the fifth and sixth grade team at Harrodsburg Middle School.
The ceremony will take place just before the Bulldogs take on Frankfort Christian at 1 p.m. on Saturday.