Burns, Gary (2001)
The addition of Gary Burns to the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame completes the induction of a troika of extraordinary benefactors of Augusta youth baseball. Joining Dick McGuire (1996) and Joe Linscott (1998), Gary Burns takes his place not only with those fellow Capitol City gems, but with a long list of Hall of Famers whose dream was to make it possible for others to dream.
Gary s.devotion to promoting youth leagues in Augusta, together with~ his tireless efforts in spearheading the development of the Capital Area Recreation Association Complex, earn him this well-deserved tribute today.
A lite-long resident of Augusta, Gary's Little League and Babe Ruth years were highlighted by, a state championship Babe Ruth team in 1959. Gary fondly recalls that the New England championships were played in Bangor Brewer that year and the teams were housed in the barracks at Dell Air Force Base.
Gary went on to play three varsity seasons at Cony High School, captaining the team his senior year.
Gary joined the U.S. Army in 1967 and served his country with distinction. As a twenty-three year old sergeant he was nearly crippled by shrapnel while in Vietnam. During an arduous recovery following that incident, Gary made a promise to himself to “put something back in the pot” if he was allowed to survive just one more day.
It turned out to be the promise of a lifetime and a pot of proportions.
More like an overflowing kettle of compassion for his fellow veterans and Augusta youth. Gary became a national service officer for Disabled American Veterans working out of Togus, and was a respected and tireless advocate for disabled veterans until his retirement just this year.
Gary also decided to put something back into the baseball "pot," becoming an active Little League and Babe Ruth coach and working tirelessly to expand playing fields and opportunities for Augusta’s boys and girls. In typical ‘Burnsie fashion, Gary threw his heart and soul into the CARA complex and inspired a loyal cadre of volunteers who proudly regard that facility as one of the finest in New England. Gary has served as president of CARA since 1994.
As testimony to both his “can-do” attitude and Yankee thrift, Gary recalls that the bleachers at the Morton Babe Ruth field were in use at Hadlock Field before the arrival of the Sea Dogs. Gary convinced the City of Augusta to purchase them for $5,000 and spearheaded a largely volunteer effort to install them at Morton Field.
On May [9th Gary was honored by the Calumet Club of Augusta as its “Outstanding Citizen" of 2001.
Gary lives today in Augusta with his wife of thirty-two years; Carolyn, and spends his time overseeing CARA, coaching and tending his formidable baseball card collection. Not content with an already laudable legacy, Gary continues to make good on that promise of thirty-four years ago and the “pot” continues to overflow. When asked to submit information about his career for inclusion in the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame program, Gary noted, "I don't enjoy this blowing my own horn routine’, Sonny.” Not to worry Gary. Countless veterans and youngsters in the Augusta area are more than happy to do it for you.