Park dedicated to former Boys Club leader
EL DORADO — The dedication of Cecil Kellum Park on Saturday afternoon celebrated the life of Cecil Kellum and the contributions he made to the community while working at the El Dorado Boys Club, currently the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado, for 20 years.
Kellum started as the program director for the club in 1952 and moved to the executive director position 17 years later.
During his time with the organization, Kellum started the athletic program with a wrestling mat and a pool table in 1952. A year later, he helped lead the construction of a new facility and a ball field. He went on to establish Little League baseball, basketball and football programs.
“Basketball was harder,” Kellum said. “I visited the school and told them about the basketball program-teams from each school, different age brackets. It was surprising I had a lot of participants. My program excelled.”
Kellum was inducted into the El Dorado Boys Club Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Union County Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
Along with the dedication to Kellum, the park is getting a number of upgrades and improvements. The new entrance of brick pillars, the name of the park stretched between them, and a plaque speaking to Kellum’s legacy are already in place.
Phase II of the project, which will be completed before the ball season in March — weather allowing — includes dirt work, safety shields over the fences, repairs to the gates and dugouts, upgrades to the batting cage, installing four bleachers, and several landscaping projects. Additionally, due to safety concerns, funding from the project will also go to handrails at the sides, middle and back of the B League stands.
The funding for the project came from the El Dorado Boys Club Alumni Association. A committee formed to implement the improvements to the park has raised $76,000 for the project.
As part of the dedication, many of the people Kellum worked with when they were growing up returned to the area to celebrate him.
“It’s an inspiration,” Kellum said. “A lot of the boys from over the years should have been here, but were not here. A lot of Boys Clubs members should have been here, but weren’t here, some for obvious reasons. But I’m glad that the ones who were here today were here to show their support.”
One of those who did come back was Al Miller, who coached NFL teams for 23 years before ending his career with the Oakland Raiders. Miller said Kellum is a legend.
“You don’t get these type of people to come out on this day [in the rain] for somebody that’s not special,” Miller said.