Barry Otto Has Been On a Mission and Told the School Board About It

March 15, 2019


Staff photo by Len Lathrop. Barry Otto

by Len Lathrop

Words cannot do this story justice.  On Feb. 25, Barry Otto, a Hudson resident, spoke to the school board about his mission which started three years ago when his “senior walks” had taken him very close to local ball fields where he began to notice a great deal of litter, gum/candy wraps, soda cans/glass bottles and snack wrappers.  He decided to make it his citizen mission to maintain “cleanliness.”

He explained that quite soon he became aware of the variety of sports balls located outside the fences of the 14 game sites and 25 ball fields his walks have taken him past. He noted high school and elementary school fields, town fields, service clubs fields and private fields, and showed the school board members some examples of “lost balls” that had fallen prey to weather rot and hungry animals, especially when he was able to show spots on the balls where animals had gotten a meal.

Then he asked board members to offer a guess of how many “lost balls” he had collected. Superintendent Larry Russell offered 1,700, while someone else said 500 and Student Representative Caitlin Lynch offered an 800-something number.  Otto had promised a saved ball for the right answer.  Mouths dropped when he said the number was 2,116.  But in the spirit of fun, Otto gave everyone who offered a guess a souvenir ball.

Otto hopes to donate the entire collection of 2,116 balls, plus bats and gloves, to anyone who needs it – the collection entails 18 tote buckets with 14 balls each, and six big ball bags.

He hopes that his presentation will start the 2019 ball season with a new purpose to compliment sportsmanship with the next step: PICK IT UP and JOIN THE CLEAN TEAM, QUIT THE LITTER LEAGUE.

He wants all players to pick up trash and remember “YOU are what you leave behind.”  He engaged the school board to build a culture based on “STEM” (Show Them Easy Manners).