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Vi Ripken continues to give back to Aberdeen

Cal RipkenLou GehrigBaltimore OriolesCal Ripken, Jr.Panera Bread CompanyOriole Park at Camden Yards

On Friday, Harford magazine interviewed Violet "Vi" Ripken for a feature story in the October issue. During the conversation, Ripken discussed her volunteer work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County, which she's been involved with for years. Here are excerpts from the interview.

Back in the late 1980s, Aberdeen's chief of police asked her husband, Cal Ripken Sr., whether she would be willing to get involved in a program to benefit area youngsters.

"They were concerned with the youth finding too many ways to get in trouble," Violet Ripken, 74, recalled.

"I told my husband that I would do it for one year and see what it's like," she said. "Twenty years later, I'm still doing it. I'm going to be there until they decide they don't want me anymore."

A group of concerned citizens came together and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County was created. Ripken is a past president of the organization and currently serves on the board of directors as a representative of The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.

Every year, Ripken hosts a Diamonds in the Rough golf tournament to support the county Boys & Girls Clubs. She also attends the annual Steak and Burger fundraiser for the club, as well as the annual Kiss a Pig fundraiser, which is scheduled to take place early next month.

"Individuals collect money and the person who collects the most has to kiss the pig," she said. "It's a fun time. The candidates put everything they have into it."

When she's not busy supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs, Ripken can be found enjoying IronBirds games at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

She's also a fan of the annual Cal Ripken World Series, which takes place in August.

"I think it's phenomenal," she said. "How many cities would like to get that kind of coverage? It's quite a nice kudos to this town."

With Cal Ripken Jr.'s statue unveiling scheduled at Camden Yards in September, she also took some time to reflect on her family's history with the sport.

"While you're in the midst of it, it's just normal," she said. "I wouldn't do anything differently. It was a wonderful experience."

Asked to recall some of her most memorable moments, she mentioned the first day her husband became manager of the Orioles.

"It was very special," she said. "It was the culmination of all of those years of hard work."

lthompson@chesapeakehome.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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