PHILLIPS – The Michaela Morgan and Thomas Deckard-Madore Memorial Basketball Court is now officially open for business. The brand new court, built to honor the lives of these two young people who were killed in a car crash last winter, was formally opened with a special Dedication Day ceremony held at North Franklin Park.
“There were lots of new basketballs to shoot, and lots of hope and healing as we dedicated this court to our kiddos, the community, and our lost loved ones, Michaela and Thomas,” Brenda Wilcox, one of the many volunteers and contributors involved in this community project said.
“The definitions of community: “A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common, especially one practicing common ownership; a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals; 3) joint ownership and liability. We have come together today to celebrate the completion of the M & T Memorial Court. Has the term “labor of love” ever held more meaning than it does with this court? In our communities, when one of us suffers unimaginable loss, we all feel that.
In March of 2021, a group of us decided to channel our grief and do something “good” for our youth. The year of COVID topped off with tragedy had really done a number on many of us. All we knew was Michaela and Thomas loved basketball, our community was in mourning, and we needed something positive to do. We will honor them with a basketball court,” Sherra Osgood said.
Thanks were expressed once more for the many hands and monetary support which brought this court to life and which will ensure that the young lives lost so tragically will live on in their community.
Michaela Morgan and Thomas Deckard-Madore, two students from Mt. Abram Regional High School in Salem, were involved in a fatal car accident coming home from an outing in Rangeley back in February. In mid-March, a group of local people gathered together to discuss the possibility of doing something to honor those young lives lost. Both students were athletes who excelled in basketball. The solution seemed obvious.
The group started a fundraiser, which made possible the construction of this “big, beautiful memorial basketball park. Using a Facebook page to solicit interest and support the group first organized an online bake sale. Monetary donations from many organizations, private business, individual people, school student councils, and others came pouring in. Generous people from all around the area offered their assistance in any way they could.
The work on the court began early last spring. The groundbreaking was done by a local person who wished for no recognition for his generosity. Soon more local contractors and individuals offered their help, including E. L. Vining and Sons, Pikes’, and King’s Paving, Elliot’s. Many more people stepped up to help, as well.
The new basketball court is regulation size. It has been hot-topped and features top-of-the-line basketball poles, backboards, and nets, along with two shorter poles for the younger players.
A new sign has been installed. Regulation line painters added the official lines on the court. Kiana Thompson, local artist and designer of the Michaela Morgan/Thomas Deckard-Madore logo, painted the logo in the center of the court. This logo has become a familiar sight as it has been seen on many tee-shirts and emblems around the North Franklin County/Mt. Abram High School communities.
Plans are in the works for a court-side gazebo under which families may sit to enjoy the play on the court.
Next year, it is hoped that Phillips Old Home Days festivities will include the 1st Annual M & T Memorial Hot Shot Contest.