BY JEFF FALK
One doesn’t have to be an athlete or a coach or an administrator to impact the local sports scene. He or she can do it through involvement, through support, through information.
But from a wheelchair?
Recently, Stevie Nelson, a beloved figure in Lebanon County sports circles who wasn’t an athlete, passed away suddenly. Nelson, 43, simply went to sleep and never woke up.
Nelson, a huge local sports fan, will always be rememberd for his love of sports, especially those involving Lebanon County teams and Cedar Crest High School specifically. A lifelong resident of Cornwall, Nelson was inducted into the Central Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame as an inspirational figure almost two decades prior.
“He loved all sports, but baseball was his favorite,” said Joann Kreiser, Nelson’s sister. “He always liked being around the guys. He had a special place in his heart for local sports.”
Nelson became a fixture as a fan at local football, basketball and baseball games, espcially ones involving Cedar Crest and Lebanon Catholic. He was also involved with the Cornwall teener baseball program as a scorekeeper, statistician and media liason.
Nelson, who was wheelchair-bound his entire life, was also a huge Penn State fan and a parishoner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic church in Cornwall.
“He always had a smile on his face,” said Kreiser. “He loved people. He would always want to help. He knew a lot of people.”
Born with spina bifida, Nelson graduated from Cedar Crest in 1992. Because of his love of sports, Nelson never allowed his handicap to stop him from getting involved.
“Pretty much, our parents tried to keep him with the other students,” said Kreiser. “He was always playing some sort of game with other kids, even though he was in a wheelchair.”