MONROVIA, Ala. (WHNT) - A school held a bittersweet ceremony Wednesday morning for the family of a boy killed in 2011.
Matthew Dahl, 6, died after being hit by a car. He loved baseball, so Legacy Elementary dedicated the ball field in Matthew's name.
About 700 of Matthew's classmates were there, including some of Matt's best buddies; the kids of Mrs. Dodd's kindergarten class who ran the bases for the first time.
The wind quieted for a moment as a family friend offered a prayer.
"Father we pray," said Brandon Presnell as he delivered the invocation, "that as boys and girls play on this field that they'll be inspired in the same way Matt was--and we thank you for the opportunity to see this field come to fruition."
After a collective 'amen' Matt's mother Marge Dahl, dressed in a baseball jersey with the word coach stitched on the back approached home plate.
"One of my coaches once told me," said Dahl as she fought back tears, "that your friends will come and go in life but the friends you make through sports are the ones that will always be there for you. In this case this beautiful ball field was made by a bunch of friends I've met through sports."
The ceremony included the first pitch by Matthew's parents and siblings, the unveiling of the Matt Dahl Memorial Ballfield sign and a balloon release.
"It's unbelievable," Marge Dahl beamed. "I started substitute teaching here at Legacy last year and all the kids keep coming up to me giving me hugs and it's just like Matt hugging me. It's such a good feeling just to see this field and to know Matt's class will be able to enjoy it."
Dahl said the field was made possible by community donations and support from Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong, county commission district 4, the Semper Fi Community Task Force and other businesses and friends . Matthew's father, Mike Dahl, is a retired Marine and founding member of the Semper Fi Task Force.