Friends, family and residents came together last month for the Moorestown Parks and Recreation Department’s dedication of Full Throttle Field, a state-of-the-art wiffleball field dedicated in memory of Jack Casey Hannon, who died in 2021.
“This field is going to provide a very unique enhancement to that feel of community that we already possess here in Moorestown,” said Jim Sanfilippo, commissioner of the Moorestown Youth Baseball Federation. “The location of this field here at Memorial Park right off of Main Street, right off the center of town, provides unparalleled access to this field for kids of all ages to come out and share in this opportunity.
“I didn’t have an opportunity to know Jack well, but then knowing the stories and the pictures that I get to see, I can’t imagine a better tribute to Jack moving forward,” he added, “and I can’t imagine something that encapsulates his spirit better than that.”
Full Throttle Field, a replica of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, honors Hannon in a way that’s larger than life – as he was. He loved baseball, football, wiffleball, any sport with a ball. He was the biggest cheerleader at his older brother Brady’s baseball games, and even received honorary trophies from the coaches for being such a big fan.
Hannon has been described as “full throttle,” because he gave 100% of himself 100% of the time, family and friends recalled, a jolt of energy with a huge passion for sports and enjoyed practice as much as any game.
“In the short time since the field has been opened, we have seen and heard countless stories about how this field has brought people together,” said Hannon’s mother Kristin. “From birthday parties, a 50th-anniversary celebration, children of various ages playing together, makeshift wiffleball leagues to pickup wiffleball games, all feel welcome. Every time we witness the joy this field brings, we feel like it’s a hug from Jack.
“ … This is just the beginning,” Hannon added. “Our next project will be an all-inclusive playground in town where children of all ages and abilities can play together. We partnered with the Community Foundation of South Jersey (CFSJ) to create the Jack Hannon Full Throttle Fund. This is where you can support our mission to spread Jack’s inspiring and loving spirit through charitable projects focused on youth development, bringing fun and joy to children.”
For the last two years on Jack’s birthday, Kristen, Brady, and younger brother Trey have made kindness rocks with inspiring messages on them, including “full throttle,” and passed them out around town, at the new field and at other township parks.
“Hopefully somebody will see one of those rocks and it will brighten their day and they’ll be reminded of Jack,” Kristin noted.
Mayor Nicole Gillespie didn’t have the chance to meet Hannon, but from everything she’s heard, “full throttle” describes him perfectly.
“Every time you are here, and you are playing on this field, you are watching other people experience the joy of playing on this field and the fun they’re having,” she observed. “Remember Jack. Remember this young boy, remember this family and that they came from this place of loss and turned it into a gift for our community.”
Hannon’s family wanted a place where kids could feel like kids and enjoy each other’s company. They also want to do charitable projects for the community. Kristin reiterated that the new field is just the beginning of the Jack Hannon Full Throttle Fund. She and her husband Casey describe the field as magnetic, inclusive and larger than life – the perfect tribute to Jack, who was just 5 and a half years old when he died.
“It encompasses everything that he loved,” his mother said of the field. “He loved sports, he loved playing with his friends, he loved the Phillies, he loved the color red … I feel like it makes, for kids, it makes them feel like they’re a professional baseball player.
“They feel like they’re in Citizens Bank Park, when they reach up to get a ball and their hand goes over the top … It’s like a dream that you’re in and now you get to experience it in real life.”
To donate to the Jack Hannon fund, visit https://www.communityfoundationsj.org/jack-hannon-full-throttle/.