PARIS – Balls will soon be flying across the green at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Paris, where a new playing field opened Sunday.

The field was 10 years in the making, according to Ellie Newell, admissions coordinator for the veterans’ home.

“When we built the veterans’ home it took away the ball field and we made the promise that if we could give that back, we would,” Newell said Monday.

With land donated by Rawn Phinney and resources from the veterans’ home and Western Maine Veterans, the field became a reality. Now the Paris Recreation Department will schedule soccer and baseball games for the site. The veterans’ home will maintain the property, Newell said.

The new field has bleachers and is handicapped-accessible, so veterans at the home can head out to watch the games.

In addition, a number of veterans’ family members contributed to the field. A flagpole at the site was donated by the family of Marine Corps veteran Carolyn Brooks, who served from 1943 to 1945. The flag itself was donated by the family of Thomas W. Alling, who served in the Navy Seabees from 1972 to 1977.

A bridge at the field, designed to improve access for residents of the veterans’ home, was donated by the family of David E. Rideout, a former resident of the facility. Rideout was a Coast Guard veteran who served from 1959 to 1962.

Newell said more than 200 people attended a dedication ceremony for the field on Sunday. The events included music by the Maine State National Guard Band, the raising of the flag by the Oxford County Marine Corps League Honor Guard, and remarks by state Sen. Richard Bennett, R-Norway.

A first pitch was thrown by state Rep. Theodore Heidrich, R-Oxford, who is also a Marine Corps veteran, Newell said.

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