Parks Manager Rick Harden began the dedication of the Abe Rojas Ballfield by explaining a very brief background as to how the naming of the southwest ballfield at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex came about.
“We can’t say enough about Abe and his dedication for recreation and sports for the youth in this community,” said Harden.
Rick Harden stated that when he first started working for the City of Turlock that he marveled at all the contacts Abe had in the City of Turlock and how he thinks Abe knows everybody in the City of Turlock.
Harden went on to say that Abe knows all the history of Turlock parks and recreation while everyone knows Abe as Mr. Parks and Recreation.
Abe Rojas was the Director of the Activities and Facilities Department from 1969 to 1993. During Abe’s 24 year tenure with City of Turlock, and to this day, it seems that he has served on almost every committee, board, and association ever organized in the city of Turlock.
Abe’s involvement with sports programs, school districts, THS coaching, refereeing, announcing games and such has provided a cross-over between city and school districts that led to the current shared use agreement between the two organizations.
It was mentioned that Abe Rojas was given the awards of Citizen of Year in 1994 by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and Volunteer of the Year in 2007 by the Salvation Army. Abe’s contributions to the community have been so great that there are too many acknowledgements to mention at any one given moment.
With all that Abe Rojas has done, his legacy is his coordination and development of Pedretti Sports Complex. The complex was named after his close friend and coaching colleague, the late Atch Pedretti.
“Abe’s always willing to give his time and expertise for betterment of this wonderful community. Abe’s still totally committed to the field of recreation and the youth of this community,” said Parks Manager Harden.
Harden also recognized his wife Sharon for being just as dedicated and supportive of Abe.
Mayor John Lazar restated that everyone attending the ceremony was there to acknowledge Abe and Sharon.
Mayor Lazar mentioned he just turned 50 year old and how he grew up hearing a lot about Abe Rojas because Rojas coached Lazar’s brother in baseball.
“On behalf of an appreciative community, this ballfield is dedicated the Abe Rojas Ballfield,” said Mayor Lazar.
The dedication specifically mentioned his tenure at the City of Turlock for 24 years and the Pedretti Sports Complex project that took from 1977 to 1982 to complete.
On Nov 27, 2007 the Turlock City Council unanimously approved a resolution to approve the official designation of the southwest ballfield at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex as Abe Rojas Ballfield. Having made the statement, it was officially dedicated.
Abe Rojas said “I’m really appreciative; I never thought in my own early days that this would ever happen to me. I started in parks and recreation at the age of 13 ½ in 1968, when city hall was downtown Turlock… I never thought I would make a career of it. I’m really grateful for that.”
“I’d like to thank my family,” said Rojas. “Without having a dedicated wife who never complained where I was or when I was gone, to have a partner like that is unbelievable and I hope that all of you have that same opportunity as I do if you’re married or when you marry.”
“I would like to thank everybody that has been part of my life because without you I would have never been able to accomplish the things that I have been,” said Rojas. “I could thank a lot of people that go back to some who are deceased, some still living, that have contributed so much.”
Abe explained Pedretti was built with the city only contributing $30,000 and the rest being volunteered, donated, and paid for with grants. The land where Pedretti Sports Complex sits now was 20 acres of tumble weeds, puncture vine and now is one of the finest recreational sports complexes in central valley.
Coldwell Banker Endsley & Associates Real Estate Owner and community advocate Bob Endsley came from the audience and said “It is so important that we all recognize that Abe is the epitome of volunteer service which has always made Turlock a unique place to be. Everything that he has done… being on the YCCD Board of Trustees, all his recreation involvement, and that he has been intimately encouraging in the education of our kids is vitally important.”
While Abe Rojas was taking pictures next to the newly unveiled “Abe Rojas Ballfield” sign, he joked saying “I never imagined the sign would look like this. I imagined something kind of small and… I’m going to put a little cup next to it so I can put my ashes here.”