The Westonka Baseball boosters and other interested parties are pulling together the money, materials and know-how to honor a longtime teacher and coach whom one of the organizing leads called a Westonka legend: Dick “Pops” Halvarson.
Halvarson had been a teacher at Westonka, first at Grandview and then at Mound Westonka High School, for 35 years. He also coached hockey and football for 46 years.
Now, Todd Munsterteiger and Bob Lucas, two Westonka guys who each have a son in the Westonka baseball program (Munsterteiger is also Westonka’s Varsity wrestling coach and had previously coached football alongside Pops’ son, Jim Halvarson), had the idea a couple of years ago to create a viewing deck at Westonka’s Fritz Soule Baseball Field. They laid the groundwork for it. And then it sat and sat and sat—until this year.
“Basically, we’re walking by this space that’s nothing but weeds and footings for a deck for two years or three years,” said Lucas. The fire was lit about a month ago to get on with it and finish “Pop’s Porch.
They’re looking for some construction expertise and some funds to build the viewing deck. Already enlisted is a local construction man who needed some activity in the off-season and who will be running point on the project. But the other labor still needs to be filled—and quick: with a goal of having the deck completed for the season opener on April 5, all funding needs to be in by the end of the year to ensure materials can be ordered and delivered and the crew can get to the ol’ measure twice and cut once.
“We kind of made a pact that we were going to take this on,” said Lucas.
Both he and Munsterteiger agreed that Soule Field, already what the two called a top-notch field in the arena of high school baseball, was a “unique” location due to the surrounding steep slope that makes the field sit down low. Normally, said Lucas, folks set up chairs on that slope since there’s only one bleacher stand. Still, “It’s got a lot of charm,” he said.
Organizers have so far raised $7,000 toward a $30,000 since starting the fundraising on social media early in October. The school district is also providing $4,000 for the project, and Mound True Value has donated 60 bags of concrete.
“The Halvarson family in themselves are a legend here,” said Munsterteiger. “We’re gonna get ‘er done, come hell or high water.”
To support “Pop’s Porch” at MWHS’ Soule Field, you can visit the Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/pops-porch-project or mail a check (payable to “MW Dugout Club”) to MW Dugout Club, 1200 Game Farm Rd, Minnetrista, MN 55364.