© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Irwin MacLean, left, father of Mitch and Keith Craswell, father of Tanner, unveil the plaque Sunday.
Emotions ran high as a memorial was unveiled on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Field in Victoria Park in honour of two local young men who were killed on an Alberta Highway last year near Claresholm.
Both Tanner Craswell's and Mitch MacLean's family and friends gathered at the baseball field to celebrate the lives of their lost loved ones. The two men grew up in Charlottetown and played baseball in their early years at Memorial Field.
They also attended the Prairie Baseball Academy in Alberta and played for the Lethbridge Bulls.
A memorial and a plaque were unveiled to the public during the ceremony, and two new benches with plaques on them were also displayed. Friends and family of the two boys raised the money to install the benches, and they got together to play a game of ball on Sunday in honour of the two young men.
After the five-inning game, everyone gathered for a community barbeque which was also organized by friends and family.
Irwin MacLean, Mitch's father, said he was happy he could be with his son whenever he and his family visited the ball field.
“My youngest son plays ball down here so every time we come down we will all be together again. It is unbelievable. I never got to see the plaque before and it is very nice. We are very honoured for what has been done for us, and there a lot of people here. I was rather surprised,” he said as he stood looking at the memorial.
“Believe it or not, it helps. It may not look like it today, but it does,” said MacLean.
“Believe it or not, it helps. It may not look like it today, but it does,” Irwin MacLean.
About 100 people gathered for the celebration of life ceremony at Memorial Field. Guest speakers included Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee and Deputy Mayor Stu MacFadyen. Mayor Lee said everyone gathered to celebrate the lives of the young men because it truly did effect the whole community of Charlottetown and the rest of Prince Edward Island.
“I have been contacted by other elected officials in other parts of Canada who expressed their sympathies and I think all Canadians really felt a sense of loss and today really was an opportunity for the community to come together to refer a lasting legacy to Mitch and Tanner,” he said.
“We wanted to create a place where we could come and sit and enjoy the thought of them. The location and how it is facing second base and short stop where they both played, it really is fitting. This is an incidence that was tough on the whole community, so we took the opportunity to say to the families how sorry we are, I'm sure Mitch and Tanner are looking down at us telling us to play ball,” said Mayor Lee.
The plaque is located at the front of Memorial Field attached to a large rock. The faces of the two young men are carved into the plaque, and a poem is also engraved below their portraits. The two benches sit on either side of the memorial where friends and family can sit and remember the two young men.