Making a difference

By on August 10, 2011

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Warwick School District
At the end of the 2010-11 school year, Howard Snoke braved hot weather conditions to help give the concession stand a make-over at Joseph Grosh Field.Photo courtesy of Warwick School District
At the end of the 2010-11 school year, Howard Snoke braved hot weather conditions to help give the concession stand a make-over at Joseph Grosh Field.

Howard Snoke is 75 years old, but he has the energy of a man half that age.

He is a member of the Warwick School Board’s building and property committee. He sits on their alternative funding committee, and he is a tireless volunteer within the district. If that’s not enough, Snoke also makes time for Warwick Little League as a devoted role model for his grandson Howie Brosnan.

A retired U.S. postal worker, Snoke has earned the admiration of friends, administrators and community leaders alike.

So now his latest projects are only further illustrating his warm-hearted personality and dedication to civic duty. In early June, knowing that the school district had plans for a make-over on the concession stand at Joseph Grosh Field, Snoke took it upon himself to paint the entire structure. And currently, he is trying to get an idea off the ground where students would donate aluminum cans to help raise money as an option for the alternative funding committee.

"It’s just a small token," Snoke said. "I’d like to see more volunteers do more things, but that’s a tough subject. I just think there should be more people saying, ‘Hey, what can I do to help?’"

That was the approach that Snoke took when it came time to improving the concession stand. He volunteered to do the painting if the school district provided the supplies. When all was said and done, the faded red concrete block building was transformed into a sharp-looking, beige-colored structure.

"It was built in ’93 and I don’t know if it had been repainted since ’93, (but) I doubt it," Warwick business manager David Zerbe said. "So it was looking a little ragged. Now we are replacing the roof at present. It was all but 20 years and had some problems, so as part of our budget process, we’re taking care of that. The building will look like it got a make-over when the football season comes around. It’s going to look really nice and Howard contributed to that."

The project took a couple of weeks for Snoke to finish while dealing with rainy weather and hot conditions toward the end of the school year. He outlined around the Warriors’ spear logo on the side of the building and Warwick’s art students repainted it to coordinate with the new color scheme.

"It looks really good," said Dr. April Hershey. "It looks more like a real spear. It’s the color of wood and the color of stone … We’re so grateful to Howard for his dedication to the school district. He serves on a variety of committees, he’s willing to step up and help out whenever we need anything. We’re just very grateful to him."

Recently, Snoke also hauled a trailer load of mulch to Bonfield Elementary and cleaned up the park behind the school. Howard’s wife Kathy, also known as ‘MeMe,’ is also a very familiar person around Bonfield Elementary, volunteering for teachers within the building.

"They have just given countless hours to the school district," Hershey said.

Painting the concession stand was one brainstorm of Snoke’s to help out the Warwick School District. His other one is the Aluminum Can Fund. Although they started the program in March, with putting toters in each of the district’s buildings and composing online newsletters, it didn’t gain as much momentum as they had hoped.

"(Howard) approached us with the idea, we reviewed it, and put some logistics in place before we rolled it out," Zerbe said. "It hasn’t taken off yet."

"Howard’s very frustrated by that," Hershey added, "and we’ve been encouraging to him and saying, ‘Sometimes it takes time.’"

According to Snoke, there are roughly 4,500 students in the school district. He said that the price of aluminum is on the rise and he believes they have the potential to raise as much as $1,300 per month.

"Maybe we could get the schools to kinda get a little competition on getting aluminum cans," said Snoke, who has offered to pick up the cans from each school. "I think the kids would probably enjoy participating because there are so many out there. Rather than raise taxes, if we get more cooperation with our alternative funding program, I think we can achieve a lot more things."

Snoke understands that Warwick Little League and others also collect cans, and he is not trying to step on any toes.

"I’m not trying to take from anybody else, but why not for the school district?," he said.

Details are still being finalized, but plans are to make a more serious launch beginning in the 2011-12 school year. Whether it be collecting the cans weekly, monthly or something else, that is still to be determined.

"It will generate something — we just don’t know what," Zerbe remarked. "As it rolls out, it will get more known. And as it gets more known, people will participate more. It should ramp up. How high ramping it goes, we don’t know." More SNOKE, page B-2

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