WAXAHACHIE — One year ago, Daily Light photojournalist Scott Dorset was on the job at the Optimist Baseball Field taking photos of the annual Play For Slade tournament. He was running to and fro capturing the moments as injured Waxahachie Indian player Brian Cupp was honored as the benefactor of the tournament fundraiser.
Fast forward one year and Dorset unassisted by any aid after a disabling accident and only accompanied by his wife, Johanna, at his side, walked the distance from his car to the memorial area.
All the while wearing his usual friendly smile with the joyous expression of a batter that just hit a grand slam run.
“I told him he needed to go in the wheelchair. But he said no. He was going to walk it,” Johanna said.
And he did.
“When the committee met at the first of this year, we looked to who we could honor with this year’s benefit. It didn’t take long for Scott’s name to come up. Last year he was here taking pictures of all the players. He was with Brian who threw out the first pitch,” said Steve Russo, father of Slade who the tournament honored. “This year we honor Scott who has given us so much and so we wanted to give back to him and Johanna.”
“This benefit takes a whole community to be a success. This year we set $40,000 as our goal,” he continued. “With the rains beginning Friday, I was wondering if we would even come close. In spite of the weather, teams from all over the metroplex and as far as Brownwood came and played through the weekend, right through Sunday afternoon. When we sat down to add up the donations, we had over $42,000.”
With Beverly Russo holding the ceremonial check, Steve Russo announced this year’s Slade Russo Memorial Tournament raised a total of $42,222.
“I’m sure Scott and Johana will have a use for all of this,” Russo said.
“I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart,” read Daily Light publisher Scott Brooks from a letter written by Dorsett. “If anyone knows just how hard it is to put on a tournament of this magnitude it’s me. And I know that each one of you put your heart and soul into this tournament. I had the honor of shooting this very same tournament a year ago and it was an honor that is I will never take lightly. I think that Slade would be proud of his parents and the rest of you tonight because that was Slade’s way of playing the single best sport in the world. Anyway, thanks to each one of you here tonight and to those who couldn’t make it here, my congratulations on a super tournament.”
In addition to awarding the donation n to Dorsett, Russo also unveiled a new monument stone in Slade’s memory that was donated by Perry Giles and Giles Monument.
A banner on the wall of the concession stand also reads, “When life gets in the way, just dust it off and smile – Slade’s way.”
On Thursday, June 22, Dorsett exemplified that example.