Penncrest held a dedication ceremony recently in honor of a special youngster.
Last September, 7-year-old Aidan Joseph Silva, son of baseball coach Steve Silva, died of sudden cardiac arrest. Aidan, a big-time baseball fan, was a first grader at Brandywine Wallace Elementary School in Downingtown.
The ceremony included a surprise video message, watched in the auditorium during an assembly, from Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.
"He would ask to stay up until Ryan Howard batted," Steve Silva said. "As a dad, how can you say no to that?"
In the video, Howard, then in Atlanta for a three-game series against the Braves, said, "I think that the tribute that you guys are giving to him is awesome. I heard that he was a very, very big Phillies fan, and I'm very honored to be his favorite player.
"Tonight, when I go out and take the field, he will definitely be in our thoughts and prayers. I'll be out there trying to do my best for Aidan."
Steve Silva also was presented with a box that included a No. 6 Phillies jersey autographed by Howard and a hand-written note from the first baseman that read, "My deepest sympathy for the sudden loss of Aidan. I will dedicate a game to my biggest fan! RH."
That night, with the Silvas watching from home, Howard slammed a three-run homer in the first inning to spark a 5-4 victory.
Eight days later, with the Phillies hosting the Texas Rangers in a nationally televised game on FOX, analyst Ken Rosenthal was talking about the story when Howard ripped a 1-1 fastball into the right-field bleachers. The blast snapped an 0-for-23, seven-game slump.
With the goal of raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and funds for medical research, the Silvas will host a 5K run/family walk June 18 - two days before Aidan's birthday - at Kerr Park in Downingtown.
For more information, go to 5KforAidanJ.com or aidanjosephsilva.blogspot.com.