Kelly Hawkinberry's worst fear is that people will forget about her son Andrew.
The city of Harlem is making sure that never happens.
Field II of the Harlem Recreation Park - the field Andrew played baseball on for three years - will be dedicated in the his name at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Andrew, who loved baseball, was killed in a car wreck on Interstate 20 in Warren County while traveling with his family to see his older brother, Michael, play football for the Harlem High School Bulldogs. Their vehicle was knocked by a tractor-trailer into the path of two other vehicles, his mother said.
The memorial is appropriate for the 8-year-old who affected everyone around him and lived for baseball, family and friends said.
Dave Thompson is one of three people that coached Andrew's tee-ball and baseball teams for three years.
Andrew Hawkinberry played
for the recreation-league
Red Sox baseball team in Harlem.
"He would have loved it," Thompson said of the field dedication. "I am sure he had special places with Mom and Dad, but Andrew was Andrew on the baseball field. He absolutely loved playing baseball. He taught me so much about kids' desire to play and be a part of a team. I am very fortunate to have known him the short time I did."
The third-grader was on the league's Red Sox last year. This year each member of the Red Sox wears Andrew's No. 7 - the number no one else will wear - on their hat and they break each pre and post-game rally huddle by yelling "Go Little Hawk."
"It is really hard to watch them, even though I love those boys on the team, knowing that Andrew would have loved to be out there," Hawkinberry said.
On a parent's and Thompson's request to honor Andrew in some way, Mayor Scott Dean and other city officials came up with the idea and presented it to the Hawkinberrys over dinner. Dean said Andrew's brother Nicholas, 10, said the idea was neat and 20 years from now, he would bring his children to their uncle's field.
Andrew's oldest brother, Michael, 18, is returning from his senior trip to Orlando, Fla., a few days early to attend the dedication, which he said was perfect for Andrew, according to his mother.
"We couldn't believe it," she said. "We were very surprised and happy and grateful they would remember Andrew. (The dedication) would be so cool as far as he is concerned. He definitely would (love it)."
The dedication will include the Royal Ambassadors of Harlem Baptist Church, Andrew's youth group, posting the colors and his team playing the first game on it later that night.
Hawkinberry believes Andrew is probably watching over the smaller children. But she and Thompson are confident Andrew will be sitting on top of the dugout smiling as the Red Sox christen his field.
"I think God sent us to Harlem for a reason. He knew what was down the road for us," Hawkinberry said. "There is not a better place we could have been than right here because the people of Harlem have been so wonderful and supportive.
"As a mom who has lost a child, your biggest fear is that someone is going to forget him. You don't want that to happen This city has kind of made me feel like they are not going to. That is such a good feeling."
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