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Not Completely the Retiring Type: Derosier Enjoys Being Hawks’ All-Trades Aide

  • Upper Valley Nighthawks volunteer Gary Derosier, left, chats with manager Jason Szafarski prior to an NECBL game with the Keene Swamp Bats at Alumni Field in Keene, N.H., on Thursday, July 26, 2018. Derosier, of Weathersfield, has volunteered with the Nighthawks for all three of their seasons, doing such things as taking tickets and serving as a fill-in bat boy.

  • Upper Valley Nighthawks volunteer Gary Derosier watches an at-bat from the backstop at Alumni Field in Keene, N.H., during an NECBL baseball game with the Keene Swamp Bats on Thursday night. Derosier, of Weathersfield, has volunteered with the Nighthawks for all three of their seasons, doing such things as taking tickets and serving as a fill-in bat boy.

  • Derosier, right, takes a bat from Upper Valley outfielder Ty Adcock (10) during Thursday’s victory over the Swamp Bats.



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, July 28, 2018

Keene, n.h. — Gary Derosier was taking in an Upper Valley Nighthawks game at the Maxfield Sports Complex last week when smiling team general manager Noah Crane tossed him a folded-up, dark blue T-shirt. It was one of the team’s warm-up jerseys with the letters “UV” patched on the front. On the back was his last name.

“I had this thrown at me last week,” Derosier said sitting in the visitors’ dugout at Keene’s Alumni Field before Thursday night’s road game against the Keene Swamp Bats, his own warm-up jersey matching the team’s attire during batting practice.

He was already part of the team. The T-shirt just made it official.

The Springfield, Vt., native and Weathersfield resident has been part of the Nighthawks’ organization since it opened in 2016, volunteering his time to take tickets in the Maxfield parking lot for home games. The job usually means he misses the first few innings, he admitted. But getting a chance to interact with the hundreds who stop by home games is usually worth the effort.

This summer Derosier, 62, has taken his Nighthawks fandom a step further, traveling to road games on the team bus and, at times, serving as the team’s bat boy. He’s now happily retired after nearly a half-century serving as a cook in both the United States military and several Upper Valley establishments. Derosier said he can’t think of a better way to spend his time.

“First and foremost, I love sports,” Derosier said. “They really didn’t have a baseball league, per se, with the exception of Dartmouth (College). When (the Nighthawks) came along, it was great. I talked to Noah about volunteering. That was that.

“I’ve gotten to enjoy amateur, especially college, athletics,” he added. “These guys play it for the love of the game. They don’t play it for the money.”

Derosier graduated from Springfield High in 1974. He spent 32 years as a chef for the U.S. Navy and, after a short stint in Pensacola, Fla., returned to the Upper Valley in 2000, where he worked as a cook for the Upper Valley Co-Op at the Centerra Marketplace in Lebanon and the Co-Op commissary in Wilder. Derosier retired two years ago, at the age of 60.

He now splits his time between sports and education, volunteering at Dartmouth College’s Thompson Arena during the winter months and with the Nighthawks in the summer. Derosier is also taking classes at River Valley Community College during the day.

Taking tickets at the Maxfield entrance, he said, gives him a chance to connect with other Nighthawks’ fans.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of people. It’s a lot of fun,” Derosier said. “Camraderie with the people. ... I’m starting to recognize a lot of people coming in. You greet them with a gesture.”

Derosier is also the only volunteer who has returned for all three of the team’s seasons.

“He deserves way more than (a T-shirt),” Crane said on Friday. “He’s been helping us out in our ticket tent for three years.

“He’s just a wonderful guy. He’s incredibly helpful and he likes the organization, anyway we can involve him.”

Joining the team on road trips, he said, has given him a new perspective.

“Going to different parks, meeting different people, it’s a lot of fun,” Derosier said. “People like Jason (Szafarski) and the coaching staff, they’re all really, really nice guys. … I’ve learned a lot.”

Derosier is taking three classes at RVCC this summer, working toward a degree in human services. His ultimate goal, he said, is to work for Veterans Affairs.

“A lot of these guys are coming back with PTSD and all that,” he said. “Not bragging, but I abused alcohol for many, many years. They have a tendency to listen to someone that’s been there compared to someone with a degree hanging on the wall.”

Desosier has been sober since April 30, 1998. He’s found a home with the Nighthawks.

“I don’t get in their way,” he said. “I’m a spectator. That’s really what I am. I feel, with Noah letting me go on the bus, all he’s got to do is say no because of a liability or whatever.

“What I’m doing now is a dream come true. I love sports. Like I told my wife, I’m like a 5-year-old kid at a candy store.”

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.