Heather Gibson is not a big baseball fan. But she said it was still a humbling experience when she was honored on the field Tuesday during pregame ceremonies before a Cincinnati Reds game at Great American Ball Park.
For the past 15 years, Gibson, a Greenfield resident, has advocated with several different organizations for drug abuse prevention and those caught in the cycle of addiction.
“It was amazing, it really was. They had all the mascots down there on the field and stuff like that, and it was really neat to look up into the crowd and see my kids waving at me,” Gibson said.
She said tickets to the game were provided for her entire family, including her husband, Chet, who works with the Highland County Sheriff’s Office.
The ceremony was organized by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, who she works with closely now as the CEO for Reach for Tomorrow. She said that in her current role, she works on a variety of projects not just for Highland County, but for organizations across the state.
Not long ago, Gibson said she received an email from Attorney General Mike DeWine saying, “I would like you to be a designated honoree, pregame, for your stellar work.”
“I was surprised,” Gibson said of her reaction to the email. “I’m humbled, but I don’t do it for the recognition. I do it to help people and my community.”
While she was on the field, Gibson said the Jumbotron scoreboard at GABP flashed a messaged that read: “R.E.A.C.H. for Tomorrow is a not-for-profit that was developed to fill gaps in the communities through Restoration (R), Education (E), Advocacy (A), Collaboration (C), and Hope (H). We partner with the church, schools, agencies, organizations and the community with programming in parent education through Help Me Grow, 24/7 Dad fatherhood, drug abuse prevention for youth, human trafficking initiatives, infant mortality initiatives, Narcan distribution, quick response teams and equipping partners with the tools and knowledge to meet their client’s needs due to traumas experienced. We strive to empower individuals, restore families and educate the community.”
When it comes to sports, Gibson said her favorite is football, and more specifically college football.
“If I root for baseball, the Reds are the team I root for,” Gibson said. “I’m not really an avid baseball fan, but they were playing against the Cleveland Indians, so I was hoping they were going to do something good. It didn’t turn out that way.”
The Reds lost to the Indians 8-1.
In addition to her job with Reach for Tomorrow, Gibson also works with the Mount Washington Church of Christ Ladies Aid, is an associate member of the Y-Gradale, is a past president of the Highland County Drug Coalition where she is now the historian, and is on the Parent Advisory Council for the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center.
She said that while she on the field at GABP, the public address announcer spoke about how important it is talk to kids about drug prevention.
“They also asked us to set up a booth in the Reds Fan Zone about what we do,” Gibson said. “So that was nice, and we got to interact with some people, and it was really cool for my kids to get to see mom on the field.”
Jeff Gilliland is the editor of The Times-Gazette. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-402-2522.