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In his more than 14 years of volunteering for Bettendorf Parks and Recreation, Richard Castro never envisioned the honor he recently received.

Three of Bettendorf's softball fields at Crow Creek Park now bear Castro's name. What was field 1, 2 and 3 is now known as the Richard Castro Adult Softball Complex. 

"Oh my God, there's no words that I could use to describe how I feel," Castro said in a recent interview.

Castro, who grew up in Bettendorf, got into volunteering for the Parks and Recreation Department after retiring from a career in law enforcement, which included the Scott County Sheriff's Department and serving as the police chief in Monticello, Iowa.

"I enjoy being around people, and it was nice. I worked out at the fitness center a lot and then this position at the park came open," he said. "And so I asked the person in charge at the time if I could get it and he said 'Sure.' I've been doing it ever since." 

Among other duties at the fields, Castro gets the fields ready for games by putting the bases out, turning on the lights if needed as well as settling any disputes between any of the teams and umpires on rules. 

When he began, Castro recalled several incidents that led to fights. "We made some changes in the rules and we haven't had a fight out there in the last five years, so I'm glad that we can settle disputes without going through that." 

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What makes work fun is where you work, what do you do and who you work for, Castro said. "You just look at the park, what a place to work at. The people I work for are just simply awesome. You put those three things together and you don't ever have to call that work, it's just something that you enjoy to do. Even the nights caught out in the rain."

Having the complex named after him was a great honor, Castro said. "I can't say enough for the parks system for allowing that to happen." 

Castro also loves living in Bettendorf. "The city is just big enough, but it's growing and you look around at what's happening with the bridge and the future of the parks and recreation," he said. 

The Bettendorf Park Board announced the honor at a board meeting Oct. 8.

"This naming is to honor the dedication, passion and integrity that Richard Castro has shown in his decade-long tenure as manager of the men's and co-ed softball leagues," the Bettendorf Parks and Recreation department said in a Facebook post.

"Richard has become synonymous with softball at Crow Creek," recreation coordinator Issac Jacobs said. "People are really out there, and they know that he is the lifeblood behind adult softball at Crow Creek, and I think there's nobody who deserves this any more than Richard does." 

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