Jesse Hill, of Jenkintown, was described as an “all-around great guy” by his friends.
“He could get along with everyone. He was a great athlete, extremely intelligent, outgoing and funny,” said friend Anthony Federici. “The most striking thing about him was his confidence. He never shied away from things that would make most people feel uncomfortable. We could always count on him to be the leader of the group.”
At the age 24, Hill passed away two years ago in October after committing suicide, which was linked to an on-going addiction to prescription pain killers, Federici said.
To raise awareness about addiction, depression and mental illness, Federici along with friends John Eyre, Phillip Haggerty and Andrew and Phillip Plumly, have organized a wiffle ball memorial tournament in Hill’s honor.
Wiffle ball was a game the friends played often during downtime, Eyre said. It was something Hill really enjoyed, and the friends thought it would be a great way to bring the community together to honor him, he said.
“It will be nice to get our friends together and get outside and play,” Eyre said. “What I’ve taken from Jesse’s death is that life is way too short, and I don’t take my friends for granted anymore.”
The wiffle ball tournament is scheduled for Sept. 21 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Little League field at Jenkintown High School, 200 West Ave., explained Andrew.
Currently, the tournament consists of 10 teams with four players on each team. To participate in the event, the price is $50 a team. Right now, a total of 40 people are expected to participate in the tournament, and more than 100 spectators are anticipated, he said.
There will be raffle items such as Flyers and Sixers memorabilia that attendees will have a chance to win, as well as food provided by Drake’s Tavern such as Buffalo wings and hamburger sliders. A donation bin will be available for people who are interested in making a financial contribution, Andrew said.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to a local charity. The charity that will benefit from the tournament has not yet been determined, Andrew said.
For more information on the event, people can log onto Facebook and search for the Jesse Hill Whiffle Ball Charity Tournament group, Andrew said.
“One of our major goals is to bring the things Jesse struggled with to the forefront,” Federici said. “Prescription drug abuse is getting out of hand. I don’t think people recognize the signs of it. We want to bring awareness to the issue and get people to talk about it, and help those who need it feel comfortable asking for help.”
Follow Jarreau Freeman on Twitter @JarreauFreeman.