Courtland youth benefit from gratitude

Published 12:24 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Earlier this month, the Courtland Youth Athletic Association became the beneficiary of someone’s appreciation and gratitude. Following an afternoon of food, fun and games such as T-ball and corn hole, event hosts Liberty Diversified International then presented a $15,000 check to the CYAA.

Ann Miller, daughter of LDI owner Mike Fiterman, said the Minnesota-based company was started 100 years ago by her great-grandfather Jack Fiterman. He came to the United States as an immigrant and eventually founded what would become the aforementioned business. The website history states that at first the work was refurbishing burlap bags and wooden boxes. Soon, the move was made to corrugated boxes, and by 1959 the family had to make two more companies to meet customers’ needs.

Miller said that the Great Gratitude Tour, as it’s called, is to show appreciation not only for how the country helped Fiterman to adapt and prosper, but also the employees of LDI and its other businesses. One of those is Safco Products, started in 1966 “to offer wholesale distribution of office products to local and international businesses.” There are distribution centers in Virginia, Minnesota and California. Larry Simms, president of the CYAA, is also the Senior Distribution Center manager for the Windsor site.

Working in what Miller called the “fun side” of human resources has enabled her to be on the “party bus,” going from place to place in the U.S. and put on the festivities where the company has its branches. LDI, now owned by her father Mike, believes in youth sports as does the CYAA, hence the donation, one of many.

To further expand on the theme of gratitude, children at a summer school program in Windsor Elementary School were taught the art of writing thank-you notes. That is part of the “Boxes of Gratitude” campaign going on nationwide.

Simms, who reported that over 150 people from the surrounding area attended the event, said the money will mostly go toward the purchase of an infield grooming machine and other needs such as children requiring financial help to get uniforms.

In keeping with the day’s theme, members of the CYAA Board of Directors were lauded for their own dedication to both the organization and community.

Mark and Ann Pierce, Roland and Lauren Jernigan, Ronald and Trina Johnson and Amy Simms were thanked for their participation in organization.

Simms recognized Bryan Fenters, who represented the Courtland Ruritans.

“Spearheaded by Bryan, the Courtland Ruritans have been remarkable partners to CYAA over the last few years,” said Simms.

“Not only donating resources for scoreboards but also supplying volunteers to assist in the concession stand during home games. Their continued work with us is invaluable and we can’t than them enough.”

To learn more about LDI and the gratitude tour, visit