DNR Bruins Articles

Courtesy of Daily News Record

 From Early July- Jim Sacco - Daily News Record
The World Needs More Roy Billhimers
The tweet came Tuesday night from Broadway Bruins president Scott Lowe: “‪#‎rcbl‬ lifetime achievement winner Roy Billhimer is out of the hospital & in the house tonight in Broadway! ‪#‎onetoughcookie‬” One night after an extended hospital stay, the Broadway super fan was back in the stands. Time to exhale, everybody. This is good news.
The world needs more Roy Billhimers, not fewer. It needs another round of the 60 tomato plants the Broadway resident likes to grow, it needs more people walking around with top-notch fundraising skills. You’re born with those, they’re not learned.

Imagine if every high school had a Roy Billhimer. Or if every community baseball team had some 88-yearold super fan-slash-fundraising wiz to lead the way, to help get the money to build some nice chairback seats, to make sure the team had uniforms, to open the gates and stay late to flick off the lights and lock up.

Or if every place had a person who took the fruits of those tomato plants and handed them out to folks who needed them.

Yes, please. More Roy Billhimers, thanks.

Too often we look to far-flung corners of the world for those acts of altruism, so much so we sometimes overlook the ones going on right in our backyard. Yes, we can blame the Roy Billhimers for that. They don’t play the bongos when another donation is made after they poured honey into the ears of someone who has money to spend and a streak of graciousness. They don’t want the credit, and neither does Billhimer, who told Lowe to take a few paragraphs out of the team’s program touting all he’s done for the club.
Lowe obliged, because that’s what you do when Billhimer asks for something.
Roy missed the Rockingham County Baseball League honoring him with a Lifetime Achievement Award during Sunday’s All-Star Game in Harrisonburg — the Broadway High School grad, long-time fan and Broadway Bruins’ “engine,” as Lowe called him, was in the hospital. His go-get-em body weak and those can’t-keep-up-with-me lungs getting worked over by pulmonary fibrosis.
The day his family took him to the hospital, it looked dire. Marilee, his daughter-in-law, knew a surprise was in order. If you know Roy, you’d feel the same way. That’s the kind of guy he is, she said, tough to keep up with despite his age. He’s even tougher to keep down.

“I just know Roy,” she said. “And he was going to surprise everyone.”
He surprised the doctors, the family said. No surprises here.
“To me, Roy is kind of Superman,” Marilee said. “He’s just a hard worker. Until this happened, I was doing good just to keep up with him.”
His family attended Sunday’s All-Star Game at Veterans Memorial Park — his four children accepting the award on his behalf. They took video, took the plaque and brought it to Roy’s hospital bed.
“It must have energized him,” Marilee said.

Because, on the Fourth of July, Roy was released from the hospital.
On the fifth, he was determined to attend Broadway’s RCBL home game against Grottoes, Marilee said. Just like everybody else, Marilee obliged — Roy went to Tuesday’s game.
Yes, he’s still sick. He will be for the foreseeable future. It’s what age does to all of us at some point or another.
Will he improve? Let’s hope so. His kids, his community, his baseball team, his high school need more Roy Billhimer. We need more Roy Billhimers.
Someone out there can always use tomatoes.


Engine’ Nets Honor
RCBL Lifetime Pass Going To Billhimer
Daily News-Record
HARRISONBURG — It should come as no surprise that Mike Bocock, commissioner of the Rockingham County Baseball League, is excited about Sunday’s annual All-Star Game.
Those who know Roy Billhimer, who will be honored before the start of the 7 p.m. game at Veterans Memorial Park, say the longtime Broadway backer would just be excited about baseball.
But Billhimer, 88, won’t be able to attend the game to receive the annual Lifetime Achievement award, an honor bestowed by the game’s host team, which is Broadway. Instead, he’ll spend Sunday in the hospital, his daughter-in-law said Friday, battling pulmonary fibrosis — a progressive lung disease — which forced the family to take Billhimer to the hospital early Sunday morning.
“He continues to improve,” Marilee Billhimer said. “He was very, very ill when we took him to the hospital.”
But those who know Roy, Marilee said, shouldn’t be surprised with his improvement. He’s a tough man to keep up with mentally.
“His mind is more like a spider web than a highway,” she said.
And just as tough physically.
“He’s from that generation,” said Tom Billhimer, Roy’s son and Marilee’s husband. “They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.”
Born one of 13 children and spending his childhood living atop Massanutten Mountain, Roy’s family moved to Timberville during World War II, Tom said. And the Broadway High School graduate rooted himself in the community. It’s a bond that runs deep, said Bruins president Scott Lowe, with both the RCBL team and the high school.
Roy is “the biggest sports fan,” Lowe said, and is the “engine” that keeps the Bruins chugging along during the season.
“Roy’s our secret weapon,” Lowe said. “He’s the guy that opens the gate, the guy that stays until the lights are off and closes the gate.”
Roy’s the guy who makes sure the Bruins have money for uniforms, Lowe said. And Roy, almost single-handedly, made sure 10 of the Bruins’ 13 home games this year were sponsored, Lowe said. And he does it not for the attention, but for the love of the community, Lowe said.
“Here’s the thing, we have a page in the program where we welcome people, thank them for coming to the Bruins game, some fl owery language about what baseball means,” Lowe said. “There used to be a couple of paragraphs about Roy and what he’d done.”
Those paragraphs about Roy aren’t in there anymore.
“He came to me and said, ‘Take those paragraphs out,’” Lowe said.
On the streets of Broadway, he’s known as “the fundraiser” and was instrumental in raising money for the chairback seats that reach down the third- and fi rst-base lines at Broadway High School’s baseball field — home of the RCBL’s Bruins — Lowe said.
It’s a family joke that’s had the Billhimers laughing for years, Marilee said.
“Because you just fi gure when he goes in somewhere people just open their wallets,” Marilee said. “You knew when you saw him coming, he wanted to sell you an ad either for the Bruins or Broadway High School.”
Bocock said everybody who knows about RCBL baseball in Broadway knows about Roy Billhimer, calling him the “guy who’s been right there” with the team for years.
“He helped build that field,” Bocock said.
And Lowe said he guesses this won’t be the end of the RCBL honors for Billhimer.
“He’s a sure-shot Hall of Famer as a contributor,” Lowe said.
Bocock said the Lifetime Achievement award comes with a plaque and a lifetime pass — free admission to any ballpark for the RCBL season.
“It will mean a lot to him,” Marilee said. “It will mean a lot to me, personally. He has done a lot, and not because he wanted this honor. He loves this community.”