By Pete Soyer
Havre's motto, "Havre... it's the people," rings loudly with the recent donation of $5,000 to the Brian Fanning Memorial Lighting Project. The lighting project has supplied new light poles and lights at Legion Field.
A group of five brothers and three sisters decided to pool some money and donate it after one of the brothers, Dennis Alex, who currently lives in Rudyard, told them about the project and suggested they make a donation together.
"I mentioned it to my brothers and sisters and they thought it was a great idea," Alex said.
The $5,000 was enough to pay off one of the light poles. The donation was made in memory of the siblings' parents, Anthony and Verda Alex, he said.
"Dad was a baseball player and a great fan of baseball and softball," Alex said. Anthony and Verda Alex moved to Havre in the 1940s and all eight of the siblings were born and raised here. Now the family is spread throughout the United States. From Edward Alex in York, Pa., to Marilyn Lang in Kelso, Wash., to Tom Alex in Las Vegas, Nev. Some of the kids stayed in Montana. Cheryl Evans and Alan Alex still live in Havre, Dennis Alex lives in Rudyard and Pamela Essary lives in Stevensville. John Alex is in Casper, Wyo.
Alex said not all of his brothers and sisters have seen the new lights at Legion Field, but he thinks they are "very nice. Very nice field."
The Brian Fanning Memorial Lighting Project was started by Dave and Diane Fanning after their son Brian, a lifelong fan of baseball, died of a brain infection last year.
Baseball is an important part of the Fanning family, project coordinator Judy Ireland said. Dave Fanning was a minor league pitcher before he settled in Havre with his family.
A ceremony was held April 19 when the lights were turned on for the first time. Havre Northstars coach Mickey Williams emceed the ceremony and thanked everyone who had donated and helped with the project.
Ireland said the Alexes' donation covered the cost of one of the last two poles that still needed to be paid for.
Now seven of the eight poles have been paid off.
Each pole costs $5,000 and each has eight to 12 lights, which cost $100 a piece.
She said the project was expected to take five or six years.
The project "kind of took off and people came through," Ireland said.
She said the other six poles were paid for with donations from the Fanning family, Bob Evans, Valley Furniture, Town Pump Charitable Foundation and the Havre Tavern Association.
"Sixty-plus people have donated $100 to buy lights," Ireland said.
She also said donations ranging from $25 to $500 have come in from all over Havre.
Most of the donations are made in memory or in honor of loved ones, she said.
If you want to make a donation call Judy Ireland at 265-7119.